Next steps logo

The week in school choice

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was back on Capitol Hill. She faced more questions on school choice and civil rights.

“Schools receiving federal funds must follow federal laws,” was her refrain. Here’s what the law says now. Here’s another answer she could have given.

She also talked about the link between funding and outcomes.

DeVos was defending the Trump administration’s education budget. It includes a $250 million school choice initiative. Her home state of Michigan might miss the boat.

If Congress approves the federal scholarship funding, Michigan’s 47-year-old ban on state money going to private schools means the state couldn’t get a piece of the $250 million.

Choice supporters said they see two ways to remove or get around the prohibition, but they are long shots. The state Constitution would have to be changed or overruled, or Congress have would have to overhaul the federal tax code before Michigan could accept any federal scholarship money.

But mayonnaise ruled the news cycle.


We’ve reported on the changes that might be coming to Florida virtual education law. A mom explains what’s at stake. That eligibility expansion is part of a massive education package that looms over a special legislative session in Florida, even though it’s not on the agenda.

Nevada’s ambitious education savings account program will remain unfunded. Silver lining? Tax credit scholarships can expand.

Why faith-based schools matter:

They matter because of their legacy of serving the most marginalized—often recently arrived immigrant—children and families. They matter because they produce graduates who are more likely to vote and give charitably and be tolerant of diverse views. They matter because they have been the bedrock of so many of our most at-risk communities for generations, providing a high-quality education at a fraction of the cost of their traditional public school counterparts. They matter because, at their best, they will stop at nothing to help their students realize the greatness for which each and every one of them was made.

How parents helped swing the Los Angeles school board to a pro-school choice majority.

Profiteering” from educational choice donations? Not quite. But if you want to stop it, here’s how.

The nation’s oldest (19th-century!) school voucher program faces new scrutiny. North Carolina’s vouchers might expand.

The Catholic School Renaissance comes to Philly.

Why it doesn’t make sense to put too much stock in high school rankings.

Denver charter schools learn to serve special needs students.

Startups angle to become Uber, for school buses.

Many black teachers didn’t return to post-Katrina New Orleans.

A teachers union leader and education reformer team up to attack school vouchers.

This charter school network CEO is also an undocumented immigrant.

Tens of thousands of applications swamp charters in Queens and the Bronx.

Access to top districts remains closed under Ohio’s open enrollment policy. But does it produce academic gains?

What if military families controlled their own education aid?

Tweet of the Week

After a hiatus, our weekly roundup of national school choice stories is back. We’re making it a middle-of-the-week thing now. Sign up to get it in your inbox.

Avatar photo

BY Travis Pillow

Travis Pillow is Director of Thought Leadership at Step Up For Students and editor of NextSteps. He lives in Sanford, Fla. with his wife and two children. A former Tallahassee statehouse reporter, he most recently worked at the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a research organization at Arizona State University, where he studied community-led learning innovation and school systems' responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. He can be reached at tpillow (at)