redefinED roundup: Catholics push for school choice, education races in ME and SC and more news

MondayRoundUp_redAlabama: Scott Beaulier, chair of the Economics and Finance Division at Troy University, says there is a large body of evidence supporting vouchers but the U.S. Department of Justice and others keep getting in the way ( The Alabama Education Association spent $7 million to defeat school choice and education reform supporters (Associated Press).

Colorado: A new study on public school transfers shows middle- and upper-class students are more likely to request transfers to another public school than less affluent students (Education Week). ACE Scholarships releases a study on the impact of scholarships on students in the state (

Connecticut: Education leaders in Bridgeport complain that the expansion of charter schools is hurting the district’s ability to predict student enrollment and estimate a budget (Connecticut Post).

D.C.: District lawyers claim a charter school funneled millions to a for-profit company to do work that charter school officials were already doing (Washington Post).

Delaware: A new bill will allow the Delaware Board of Education to restrict charter schools to geographic areas and by grade and academic emphasis if the board deems the charters will affect nearby public schools (Delaware Online). Republicans propose a voucher program allowing full scholarships for Free and Reduced Price Lunch students and 25 percent scholarships for students in families earning up to $110,000 annaully (WDDE 99.1 FM).

Florida: Palm Beach County wants a special property tax to fund arts education but the new tax won’t benefit the 13,000 students attending charter schools in the county (Sun-Sentinel). McKay Scholarships offer special needs students a way to find a different school that works well for them, but Fund Education Now, a group suing to enforce school uniformity, wants special ed students to have the exact same standards, instructions and method of teacher training at all schools (Sun-Sentinel). The state’s graduation rate improves (Education Week, redefinED).

Illinois: Andrew Broy, president, Illinois Network of Charter Schools, says the Woodland Community Consolidated School District 50 is trying to shut down a high-quality charter school through a lawsuit (Chicago Tribune). The Securities and Exchange Commission claims UNO Charter Schools misled investors holding $37.5 million in municipal bonds (Reuters).

Indiana: Two charter schools for at-risk students have been approved to open in Indianapolis (RTV 6). The Daleville School Board is holding a special meeting to consider renewing its sponsorship of the Indiana Virtual School (Star Press).

Kentucky: A retired professor at the University of Kentucky cites outdated research to make his case against charter schools (Lexington Herald-Leader). Jim Waters, president of the Bluegrass Institute, says students need alternatives from the current adult-focused education system (The Telegraph).

Louisiana: The state legislature passes a bill that will allow students in “D” or “F” rated schools to transfer to any public school (Reason Magazine). Erin Lockley, a junior at Cohen College Prep, a charter school in New Orleans, says strict rules are good for students so long as school leaders are flexible (Hechinger Report). Max Brantley, the former editor of the Arkansas Times, and Diane Ravitch declare New Orleans education reform a failure after comparing the achievement of mostly low-income minorities to the achievement of whiter, more affluent students outside of New Orleans.

Maine: Three candidates for governor outline their education plans, with the incumbent wanting to expand charter school options (Sun Journal). Maine’s virtual school falls short on enrollment targets but is granted an extension (Bangor Daily NewsPress Herald, Associated Press).

Massachusetts: A new report says Boston-area public schools need the same autonomy as charter schools (Education Week).

Michigan: A charter school serving pregnant and parenting teens will close its doors due to declining enrollment (Associated Press).

Mississippi: The state authorizes the first charter school (Education Week).

Missouri: Gov. Jay Nixon will veto the expanded school transfer bill because it will allow students in two failing school districts to transfer to public or private schools (Kansas City StarAssociated Press).

New York: The New York Post editorial board supports and agrees with the goals of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. Cardinal Dolan asks Gov. Coumo to pass tax-credit scholarships (Capital New York, Jewish Political Updates, Campbell Albany Bureau, Huffington Post). Richard Whitmire, author of the forthcoming book “On the Rocketship,” says high-quality charters and district schools in New York City need to work together to improve student learning (Hechinger Report). Six more charter schools have been approved to open in 2015, bringing the total to 13 new charter schools (Chalkbeat). Less than half of Pre-K students are assigned to their top school of choice in New York City (Associated Press).

North Carolina: Lottery for school vouchers will be held soon (News & Observer). Senate Republicans are angry with the slow pace of charter school application reviews (WRAL). Amendments on a charter school bill remove requirements that charter schools be subjected to the same open records and meetings laws as public schools (Charlotte Observer, NC Policy Watch).

Ohio: School Choice Ohio sues two school districts to obtain student contact information, alleging the district is withholding information to keep students from being informed about scholarship opportunities ( A private school operator says participating in the state’s voucher program did increase regulations but most of it was manageable paperwork reporting requirements (Watchdog).

Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Corbett wants to cut the state’s private school tax-credit scholarship program by $20 million (The Morning Call).

South Carolina: A crowded field of school choice supporters and opponents runs for the open state superintendent of education seat (Free Times). U.S. Rep. Michele Bachman endorses Sheri Few for the seat (Post & Courier) while five state lawmakers endorse Meka Childs (Post & Courier).

Texas: Sen. John Cornyn discusses school choice and charter schools on a panel of charter parents and operators (Memorial News). A charter school founder shares his school’s steps for success (Latina Lista).

Wisconsin: PolitiFact Wisconsin misreads the research on vouchers, commits basic research method errors and makes an incorrect conclusion about the impact of vouchers on student learning (redefinED, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel). A new Friedman Foundation report shows the Milwaukee voucher program is the most regulated program of its kind in the nation (MacIver Institute). A charter school membership organization will cease operating at the end of the month (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).

Nation: School choice supporters release a joint statement on supporting all schools of choice whether they are public or private (redefinED). A federal bill aims to give school choice to military dependents through a pilot program on five military bases (Politix). Rick Esenberg, general counsel of Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, and  C. J. Szafir, an associate counsel and education-policy director of WILL, argue that President Obama and the U.S. Department of Justice are waging a war on school choice and low-income students (National Review). Brittany Corona, a researcher at the Heritage Foundation, says parents of all income levels should be allowed to choose a school for their child (One News Now). Bold leadership is needed to improve and expand digital learning (Hechinger Report). Drew Catt of the Friedman Foundation discusses public rules for private schools (Education Next). A new book profiles students that used opportunity scholarships to find a better education (redefinED).  Another outlines the reasons for preserving Catholic schools (National Catholic Reporter).

How will the Democratic Party’s stance on education reform change under the leadership of Hilary Clinton (New Republic)? A public school teacher says school choice is “taxation without representation” (Huffington Post).

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BY reimaginED staff