redefinED roundup: Vouchers in Louisiana, rally in New York, blended learning in New Jersey & more

MondayRoundUp_magentaAlabama: The Alabama Education Association runs attack ads against a pro-school choice candidate during Republican special election primaries (

California: L.A.’s public school choice initiative became more about collaboration than competition (Huffington Post). San Fernando Valley Charter schools form an advocacy group (Daily News).

Colorado: School choice candidates win a majority on the Jefferson County School Board (Denver Post).

D.C.: Parents will be able to use one application to apply to many different schools of choice (Education Week, Washington Post). Bureaucracy, not school choice, was the problem in D.C. (redefinED). The district approves two Texas-based charter school operators to open new schools (Washington Post).

Florida: A bullied student finds a new home using a tax-credit scholarship to attend a private school (redefinED). With charter and private school options on the rise, the Pinellas County School District markets magnet schools to attract students back to the district (Tampa Bay Times). Robin Gibson, a prominent Democrat with close ties to former Govs. Bob Graham and Lawton Chiles, defends charter schools from critics (The Ledger). The superintendent of the Hillsborough County School District has reservations about allowing a competing charter school on MacDill Air Force Base (Tampa Bay Times).

Georgia: Parents choose private schools for many reasons other than high test scores (One News Now).

Hawaii: A charter school fires its principal after he is charged with the theft of more than $150,000 from the school (Hawaii News Now).

Indiana: Gov. Mike Pence wants to increase the number of charter schools in the state (Post Tribune).

Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal and school choice supporters may be declaring victory against the DOJ’s anti voucher suit but the fight isn’t over yet (Education Week, Times Picayune, National Review, Wall Street Journal, Bayou Buzz, The Town Talk ). The judge in the DOJ’s anti voucher suit ordered both sides to come up with a plan to prevent racial segregation (Associated Press, Bloomberg, New York Times). A former Democrat and state legislature turns from voucher foe to voucher supporter (The Advocate).

Maryland: Roland Park Country School, an all-girls private school, will be opening up a new charter school (Baltimore Sun).

Massachusetts: Each year, school districts must choose if they are going to participate in school choice and allow students to enroll from out of district (The Landmark).

Michigan: Michigan is the only state in the U.S. to constitutionally ban vouchers and tuition-tax credit scholarships but a columnist argues the state needs to allow private school choice (Michigan Capitol Confidential).

Missouri: To stay afloat, some Catholic schools are converting to public charter schools (Times-Dispatch). The state’s public school choice only offers moderately better opportunities, but could improve with charter and private school options (Huffington Post).

New Jersey: Too many parents want school choice, so the state department of education restricts growth to cut down on growing transfer cost (Newsmax). The New Jersey Education Association threatens to shut down two blended-learning charter schools with a lawsuit (Education Next). Newark is working a deal out with charter schools to create one online application so parents can easily apply to their favorite school of choice (

New York: More than 5,000 people attend a rally to show support for a tuition-tax credit scholarship bill (WAMC Radio, The Journal News, White Planes Daily Voice, News 12 Westchester). A New York school is being featured in an upcoming school choice documentary (YNN). Beginning With Children Charter School will close its doors next year after failing to reach a contract agreement with the United Federation of Teachers (New York Post). Will Mayor de Blasio end New York City’s era of education reform (The New Yorker)?

Ohio: Saint Martin de Porres, a high-achieving private voucher school, will be featured in an upcoming documentary from Choice Media (Enquirer Herald). Two charter schools will be shut down by the state (Columbus Dispatch).

Pennsylvania: Students in the Ardmore area will be allowed to choose which high school they want to attend (Main Line News). Simon Gratz Mastery Charter High School in North Philadelphia turned itself around from a violent, low-achieving school (NPR). The Allentown school district thinks the charter school funding formula is unfair to public schools (Express Times).

South Carolina: Fearing a lawsuit from the ACLU, a charter school music director bans Christmas songs (Washington Times).

Tennessee: Nashville area charter schools criticize a plan to limit their growth (The Tennessean).

Texas: Great Hearts is applying to open a classical education charter school in Dallas but the proposal was rejected by the state board, which argued the school serves a disproportionately white and affluent population (Dallas News).

Washington: The state’s year-old charter school law is being challenged in court (Seattle Times).

Wisconsin: A special election for an open assembly seat has candidates talking about school choice (Sawyer County Record). The dean of education at the University of Wisconsin criticizes vouchers (The Badger Herald). The Milwaukee City Council backs a controversial plan to sell an empty school building to a private developer rather than to a high-achieving private voucher school (Milwaukee Sentinel Journal). A bill to place private voucher schools, but not virtual charter schools, on the same accountability system as public schools advances (Milwaukee Sentinel Journal, Wisconsin State Journal).

Nation: Andy Smarick calls for private faith-based schools to be more transparent and accountable (redefinED, Flypaper, Education Next). Public school choice declined over time as the number of school districts fell from over 100,000 in the early 20th century to just over 13,000 districts today (Friedman Foundation). How do you choose a good public school (Slate)? Some private schools support Common Core while others oppose (Fox News). The conservative Heritage Foundation says the Obama administration has a record of hostility toward school choice (National Review).