redefinED roundup: testing and school choice debate, vouchers proposed in TN, ESA’s proposed in OK & more

MondayRoundUp_redAlabama: The state releases the new list of “failing schools” where assigned students may seek transfers to other public or private schools (Education Week). The Birmingham Public School District seeks waivers from the state to allow some schools to operate more like charters (

Alaska: Will 2014 be the year school choice reaches Alaska (Peninsula Clarion)?

Arizona: A school board member in Gilbert hopes to create a voucher program modeled after the one in Douglas Co., Colo. (AZ Central). A charter school organization plans 25 new schools for low-income areas in south and central Phoenix (New York Times, Center for Education Reform).

Arkansas: In response to a charter school controversy in Texas, the state education commissioner states that charter schools in the state must follow state science standards (Arkansas Times).

California: The state misses out on an opportunity for school choice (OC Register). Two leaders of a group resisting efforts to convert a public school into a charter school plead ‘not guilty’ to charges of vandalism (LA Times).

Connecticut: Parents attend a public school choice fair but some critics argue that school choice leads to more inequality for those left behind (The Connecticut Mirror).

D.C.: A judge rules that defendants, in a case involving a charter school run afoul of the D.C. Nonprofit Corporations Act, will not be dismissed (Washington Post).

Florida: Founders of an abruptly shuttered private school in Milwaukee turn up in Florida with a new private school (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel). The Brookings Institution gave Polk County a “C” rank on school choice  (The Ledger). A public boarding school for underserved children school operated by the SEED Foundation plans to open this fall (redefinED). With a looming fiscal crisis ahead, Florida can’t ease up on education reform (redefinED). Lee County will allow free private tutoring to return to the district (News-Press).

Illinois: The editorial board of the Chicago Tribune says “it’s time for school choice.” Two charter schools with ties to Rahm Emmanuel are up for approval (Sun Times).

Iowa: A majority of residents favor school choice (Toledo News-Herald).

Indiana: A bill circulating in the state legislature would allow charter schools to cater to adult high school education (Indiana Business Journal). For some reason, vouchers for pre-k has not become a ‘controversial’ issue in the state (WLFI). The nationwide nonprofit Goodwill opens a charter school for dropouts (NPR).

Louisiana: The state’s voucher system opens for enrollment for 2014 (Times-Picayune). The state department of education spent $770,000 on lawyer fees while fighting the U.S. Department of Justice’s anti-voucher suit (Times-Picayune). Louisiana gets high praise from two think tanks and low marks from another (Times-Picayune). The Thomas B. Fordham Institute says Louisiana’s voucher program has model legislation for accountability and transparency (The Advocate). A new study shows students are willing to travel farther for the school of their choice in post-Katrina New Orleans (Times-Picayune). A school district sues the state for more funding since the current funding formula was tossed out by a judge due to the constitutionally of voucher funding (The Town Talk).

Maine: Four organizations proposing new charter schools, including one virtual school, appeal to the state education commissioner for approval (Portland Press Herald).

Minnesota: State officials plan to increase oversight of charter school overseers (Education Week).

Mississippi: Founding a charter school requires money and community support (Clarion Ledger).

Missouri: Private school choice could solve problems with the state’s public school choice policy (Watchdog).

New Hampshire: Editors at the Concord Monitor want the state’s tax-credit scholarship program overturned and invalidated. Gov. Maggie Hassan opposes scholarships for low-income kids to attend private K-12 schools but supports scholarships for low-income kids to attend private colleges and universities (Union Leader, Cato Institute, New Hampshire News).

New Jersey: Vouchers disappear from Gov. Chris Christie’s education reform agenda (New Jersey Spotlight, The Patch). Big names in the charter school community put together proposals for a “renaissance school” (which will get additional funding) in Camden (Newsworks).

New York: The time is right for the state to adopt school-choice-based education reform (Gates-Chili Post). Charter schools and school choice play a vital role in education, says StudentsFirst NY (New York Daily News). The New York Daily News editorial board asks Mayor Bill de Blasio to “let charter schools bloom.” de Blasio begins his battle against charter schools with a plan to start charging charter schools rent to use empty public school buildings (New York Daily News, National Review). de Blasio may need the help of charter schools if he wants to expand into pre-k education (New York Times, New York Post). Success Academy charter schools in New York City have critics and supporters (New York Daily News).

North Carolina: More school boards join the lawsuit to stop school vouchers (The Daily News). Sixty-two charter schools applied for approval with the state’s charter school board (News & Observer).

Ohio: The Cleveland Transformation Alliance’s school choice awareness website features information about every participating school and by 2015, the website will feature grades for each of the schools (The Plain Dealer). Low demand for vouchers may be due to regulations such as the one month enrollment window (Zanesville Times-Reporter). Seventeen charter schools close for good (Sandusky Register).

Oklahoma: The Tulsa Public School District and Gates Foundation work together with local charter schools to cooperate and share ideas (Tulsa World). Legislators introduce an Education Savings Account bill (Jay P. Greene’s Blog, KFOR).

Oregon: Education Savings Accounts are the way of the future (Cascade Policy Institute).

Pennsylvania: A funding cut may reduce enrollment for public virtual schools (The Intelligencer). The school district in River Forrest hopes to save money with a virtual school option (Post-Tribune).

South Carolina: Sen. Tom Davis is filing a universal school choice bill (FITSNews).

Tennessee: Gov. Bill Haslam proposes a voucher bill for low-income students in failing schools (Times Free Press, The Tennessean). Tennessee gets an “F” grade from StudentsFirst for lacking good school choice laws (The Tennessean). New rules may allow charter management companies to take over low-performing public schools (Nashville Ledger).

Texas: A charter school group’s science curriculum is called into question as the school teaches that vaccines cause autism and creationism rather than evolution (Slate).

Virginia: Is PolitiFact is a tough grader? Former Gov. McDonnell said he helped expand charter schools in the state and indeed, the state doubled the number of charter schools from 3 to 6. PolitiFact gives him a “half true.” A Republican lawmaker wants a unique state law, which allows students to opt out of education for religious reasons, to be reexamined (Washington Post).

Wisconsin: A private school participating in a voucher program closes suddenly (Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal). In response, a state senator wants private schools to have open meetings, state certified teachers and less money (LaCrosse Tribune) The Wisconsin State Journal editorial board says charter schools are public schools. Private schools want the voucher program to expand (Green Bay Press Gazette). School district and Catholic school leaders in Chippewa Falls met together to cooperate with a focus on student success (Chippewa Herald).

Nation: A UCLA professor says school choice and education reform will never work without democratic socialism, living wages, free universities and universal healthcare (Huffington Post). Many are still unfamiliar with school vouchers (OneNews Now). Authors of a new Education Next survey argue that Common Core could better inform parents of student achievement, thereby increasing support for school choice (redefinED). Fordham Institute‘s new report on mandating state testing for school choice programs (Education Week) sparks a debate between those who think it will help and those who think it will hurt education reform (National Review, Jay P. Greene’s Blog, Cato Institute, Friedman Foundation, Fordham InstituteDropout Nation). A new organization opposing school choice, Integrity in Education, targets charter schools and school choice (Watchdog, This Week in Education). School choice opponents are wrong, writes columnist Bart Hinkle (Richmond Times-Dispatch).

Avatar photo

BY reimaginED staff