redefinED roundup: charter schools, charter schools, charter schools …


Arizona: A former school teacher criticizes the state superintendent of public instruction for his support of Common Core and school choice (East Valley Tribune). The Sierra Vista Herald editorial board says the state superintendent’s support of ESAs hurts public schools. Applications for Empowerment Scholarship Accounts doubles (Heartlander). The Arizona Republic editorial board opposes allowing public funding to go to private schools, especially now that the state support for ESAs exceeds the state support for public schools (note: the editorial board’s calculation excludes local support for public schools). A consultant at a scholarship organization is indicted for stealing $529,000 in scholarship money (Arizona Republic).

California: Vanila Singh, a professor and physician at Stanford University and congressional candidate, says school choice is the key to student success (Mercury News). The California Charter Schools Association has sued the West Contra Costa School District for withholding tax revenue intended to fund charter schools (Contra Costa Times). Charter schools struggle with online assessments (FSRN Radio).

D.C.: Two charter schools allegedly under federal investigation for possible discrimination say they have never received a complaint from a student or parent (Washington Post). President Obama sends his daughters to Sidwell Friends, an elite private school that refuses to release information on student course completion and graduation rates (Washington Post).

Florida: The tax-credit scholarship expansion will allow the program to serve higher-income families (Education Week, Tampa Tribune, WJHG TV). More low-income families will benefit from the tax-credit scholarship program if the Governor signs the bill into law (Florida Times-Union). The state  passes the nation’s second education savings account program (Foundation for Excellence in Education). Daphne Cambell (D-Miami-Dade) says she voted to expand the program because giving poor kids more options is the right thing to do (Miami Herald). The Tampa Tribune editorial board says the scholarship expansion is justified because every student deserves to find a school that works well for them. Brian Tilson, owner of a communications firm in Boca Raton, says the scholarships are unpopular and are hurting public schools (Gainesville Sun). Ron Matus, the editor of redefinED, says more progressive Democrats support parental choice (Gainesville Sun). The scholarship program helps families afford Jewish day schools (Chabad News). State Impact talks with Sen. John Legg about the legislative session including the passage of the scholarship bill. Marc Yacht, a retired physician, say charter schools should be more regulated and held to the same standards and rules as traditional public schools (Sun Sentinel).

Georgia: The Southern Education Foundation helps file a suit to overturn the state’s tax-credit scholarship program (Watchdog). A former reporter sends her daughter to a charter school and says each school is so different it is difficult to compare them to each other let alone public schools, and that is a good thing (Atlanta Journal Constitution).

Indiana: Joy Pullman of the Heartland Institute suggests lifting some charter school regulations in order to encourage the development of more charter schools to meet demand from students (Indianapolis Daily Star). Private schools in the state are reaching capacity and may need additional money to cover expansion costs (Indianapolis Daily Star).

Kentucky: The Black Alliance for Education Options wants high quality options for children and that means allowing charter schools to operate in the state (Lexington Herald-Leader).

Louisiana: The Black Alliance for Education Options applauds the students, teachers and administrators of the state’s charter schools (Times-Picayune). Voucher supporters file a motion seeking to end the court order mandating the U.S. Justice Department oversee the state’s voucher program (Associated Press).  Damia Willians, a high school student, says attending racially diverse schools is a great experience for students but racial balances in education should be decided by parents, not governments (Hechinger Report).

Maine: A virtual charter that was initially rejected seeks reconsideration (Bangor Daily News) but was rejected again by the state’s charter school commission, which refused to consider new information (Bangor Daily News, Associated Press).

Maryland: The Coalition of Baltimore Public Charter Schools says charter schools are being held back by lower levels of funding and a lack of autonomy from the school district (Baltimore Sun).

Minnesota: Columnist Derek Olson says school choice is a no-brainer because it is backed by empirical research (Minnesota Daily). Regulations governing lease agreements and operations may hurt charter schools (MinnPost).

Nebraska: The Platte Institute for Economic Research says the state needs charter schools (Omaha World-Herald).

Nevada: The Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board argues that school choice can be a good way to help children who are bullied in school. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools ranks the state in the top 15 for friendliest charter school laws (Las Vegas Sun).

New Hampshire: Gov. Maggie Hassan nominates an anti-school choice activist to the state school board (New Hampshire Public Radio, Union Leader). Charles M. Arlinghaus, president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, says Gov. Hassan should not nominate someone to the school board who is currently suing the state to eliminate the state’s tax-credit scholarship program (Union Leader). The Seacoast Online editorial board argues the new school board nominee is a good choice because he is pro public school and against making private school options available to parents.

New Jersey: Two charter schools are being forced to shut down by the state after below-average performance (

New Mexico: U.S. House of Representative members from the state say they are supportive of charter schools (Albuquerque Journal).

New York: The New York City Council wants more detailed reports on demographics and academics of charter schools sharing space with public schools (Wall Street Journal). The city council and charter school opponents blast charter schools (New York Post). Some charter schools are spending millions of dollars extra by leasing through for-profit companies who claim the additional expense covers the renovation of the property (New York Daily News). Some unusual charter school expenses highlight conflicts of interest says the New York Daily News.

North Carolina: Legislators shelve an idea to create public school open enrollment (News & Observer).

South Carolina: A principal at a private school claims one of the state’s scholarship funding organizations is pressuring parents to donate (The State).

Tennessee: Marcus Whitney says charter schools in Nashville are part of the city’s entrepreneurial spirit and are helping to drive people back to the city (The Tennessean).

Utah: Two virtual charter schools cut ties with a student recruitment firm after state audits criticized the schools for “lax management” (Salt Lake City Tribune).

Washington: Educators attend the state’s first annual charter school conference (Education Week).

Wisconsin: Democrat Mary Burke is running for governor and she says no studies show vouchers improving student achievement in Milwaukee (WUWM) (editors note: there are several studies showing Milwaukee students are learning. The most recent study comes from the University of Arkansas). Lawmakers look to help rural public schools, with Republicans proposing relaxing teacher licensing requirements and waiving some state mandates while Democrats propose restricting charter school expansion in rural areas (Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal). Gordon Laffer, an economist at the University of Oregon and research fellow at the Economic Policy Institute (and recent recipient of a “Needs Improvement” grade from Mr. Gibbons’ Report Card on redefinED) says vouchers don’t work and neither do blended learning charter schools (Milwaukee Sentinel Journal).

Wyoming: Bradley Harrington, a computer technician, believes public schools were intended to indoctrinate students and argues students have a right to a private education (Wyoming Tribune Eagle).

Nation: Federal legislation to encourage more charter schools gains bipartisan support (Times-Picayune) and passes the U.S. House 360-45 (Associated Press, Huffington Post, CBS ChicagoDemocrats for Education Reform). The bill will provide additional support to charters seeking to benefit English language learners and special needs students (Voxxi). Researchers from the American Enterprise Institute warn against applauding the bipartisan bill too soon because it could mean more regulation that could curb charter school’s ability to innovate and differentiate themselves from traditional public schools (USA Today). NFL hall of famer Deon Sanders supports charter schools (YouTube). The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools says there are over 1 million students on waiting lists at charter schools (Education Week). Few good ideas from charter schools make their way into traditional public school classrooms (New York Times). Campbell Brown, a board member of Success Academy Charter Schools and Nina Reese, CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, make the case for charter schools (Bloomberg). Nina Reese says National Charter School Week is a time to celebrate the charter schools that serve more than 2.5 million students nationwide (Huffington Post). There are few charter schools in rural areas and that might be due to the unique challenges faced by schools in these areas (Education Week). A report released by anti-charter school groups says charter schools are subjects of fraud and fiscal waste (Moyers & Company, The NationSalon). Kara Kerwin, president of the Center for Education Reform, writes to clear up some myths about charter schools (Rock River Times). Mashea Ashton, CEO of the Newark Charter School Fund, says charter schools should not be a divisive issue (Fox News). Robert Enlow, president of the Friedman Foundation, makes a case for school choice over more top-down testing (OC Register). Sen. Rand Paul criticizes Democrats and Hilary Clinton on education reform issues and more (CBS Philly). Will the Supreme Court’s next religious case be about public school graduations in churches (Education Week)?