redefinED roundup: vouchers on the legislative agenda, first charter school approved in WA and more

MondayRoundUp_magentaAlaska: Gov. Parnell supports a constitutional amendment that allows the state to fund private schools (Anchorage Daily News). A DC radio show host says the Alaska constitution is clear in its prohibition on funding religious schools (Anchorage Daily News). Not all Republicans in Alaska agree with the governor’s voucher proposal (News Miner).

Arizona: A critic says time is running out for charter schools to prove they are better than public schools (Education Week). Plans are underway to develop 25 new “A rated” charter schools in Phoenix by 2020 (

California: Rocketship’s rapid expansion exposes growing pains (Education Week).

Colorado: Cyber charter schools in the state offer a viable education alternative (The Gazette).

D.C.: National School Choice Week kicks off in the nation’s capital (Watchdog). District officials discuss taking over an embattled charter school for at-risk students after its founders are accused of fraud (Washington Post).

Delaware: A court order keeps a struggling all-girls charter school open for another year to avoid Title IX discrimination against girls (National Alliance for Public Charter Schools).

Georgia: National School Choice Week president Andrew Campenella says the state is a model for school choice (Augusta Chronicle). Parents need expanded school choice options in the state (Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Florida: One of the state’s best science teachers works in a charter school (redefinED). Auditors say five charter schools in Broward County are in the red (Sun-Sentinel). The sponsor of a charter school bill in the state legislature is also dean at a college run by the state’s largest for-profit charter school management company (Miami Herald).

Illinois: The Chicago Tribune editorial board argues for more high-quality charter schools. Chicago Reader columnist Ben Jorvasky is an opponent of charter schools but says they’ve become “untouchable” with allies like Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The Chicago Board of Education approves just seven of the 17 charter school applications but charter school opponents are still mad (Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Huffington Post, NBC Chicago). A panel of school choice and charter school critics say “charter schools don’t make the grade” (Beacon News).

Indiana: A new bill will allow virtual school students to play sports at their local district school (Journal-Gazette).

Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal continues to fight for vouchers (Newsmax). Even though most of New Orleans 7,500 fired teachers were rehired by charter schools following Hurricane Katrina, a recent court order may force the district to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in back pay to the teachers (Hechinger Report). A graduating high school senior switches from a private school to a public school and finds that option works better for her (Newark Advocate).

Massachusetts: Kevin Andrews from the Boston Charter School Alliance  says its time to end the “us vs. them” rhetoric when it comes to charter and district schools (Boston Globe).

New Jersey: Republicans and Democrats find common ground on school choice issues at an education summit ( A student speaks out in favor of school choice (

New York: A new bill will allow donors to receive tax-credits for donations to public schools or private scholarship organizations offering scholarships to private schools (WBFO). A tax-credit scholarship bill could save private Catholic schools from closing (New York Post). A Buffalo area teacher opposes vouchers, saying she “would not want to have my Medicare replaced with a voucher” (Buffalo News). Bruce Fuller, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, says public school choice in New York City leads to small gains in student achievement and graduation rates but increases segregation and the achievement gap as minorities and low-income families are less likely to choose the best available school (Education Week). Auditors criticize the accounting practices of two Buffalo-area charter schools (Buffalo News).

Nevada: Parents and teachers come together to support school choice (Sparks Tribune).

North Carolina: Gov. Pat McCrory promises to get tough on struggling charter schools (News & Observer). The state’s method for screening and approving charter schools continues to evolve as more and more organizations submit applications (News & Observer). Former Gov. Beverly Purdue founds a nonprofit dedicated to improving digital learning (Education Week).

Oklahoma: The school board in Tulsa approves a collaboration agreement with three charter schools (Tulsa World).

Oregon: A foster care advocacy organization pushes for school choice (

South Carolina: National School Choice Week makes a stop in Columbia (Cola Daily). School choice supporters may now donate to approved scholarship tuition organizations in the state (Fitsnews).

Tennessee: The senate proposes a voucher bill that would put a priority on low-income kids in low-performing schools but not be limited to those students (The Tennessean, Commercial Appeal). Republicans in the legislature begin negotiations with Gov. Bill Haslam, who wants a voucher for low-income kids in failing schools (Associated Press). A charter school critic argues the state is on the wrong track (The Tennessean). African-American parents in Memphis push for vouchers (WREG)

Texas: Christians and secular humanists debate the teaching of creationism vs. evolution in public charter schools (Christian News Network). Republicans and Democrats come together in Houston to support school choice (Houston Chronicle).

Vermont: A Democrat in the state legislature proposes testing requirements for private schools (Vermont Digger)

Washington: Spokane approves the first charter school in the state (Spokesman-Review, Associated Press). Supporters and opponents of charter schools debate the merits of these schools in front of the state’s Charter School Commission (The News Tribune). Students at a Catholic private school protest the dismissal of a vice principal at the school who came out as gay (New York Times).

Wisconsin: Lawmakers consider a new voucher program for special needs students (Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal, River Town News, Education Week). A newspaper columnists wants the voucher programs dismantled (On Milwaukee). An anti-school-choice group argues that special needs students are hurt by vouchers (Milwaukee Sentinel Journal). The school district in Milwaukee spends more than $1 million a year on the upkeep of vacant buildings and refuses to sell them to charter or private schools (Wall Street Journal).

National: School choice increases graduation rates and saves taxpayers money, argues Andrew Campanella from National School Choice Week (Ledger-Star, National Review). A new study finds that home values increase when near charter schools (National Review). Republicans woo minorities with school choice (Politico). Patte Barth from the Center for Public Education says school choice distracts the nation from improving public schools (Huffington Post). School choice enrollment reaches a record high (Friedman Foundation). The Friedman Foundation releases the 2014 ABC’s of School Choice, which covers the 49 private school choice programs across 22 states and D.C. School choice week highlights alternative education options (WGTN). The Daily Kos worries about the “privatization” of education through school choice. We wonder if they’d be ok with the “Medicarization” of education (redefinED). Private school vouchers make the legislative agenda again in several states (Education Week). Extended learning times in some charter schools may be a model for all schools (Shanker Blog).