redefinED roundup: Charter schools and civil rights, debating the merits of charters, and can parents be trusted?

MondayRoundUp_magentaAlabama: Cameron Smith, vice president of the Alabama Policy Institute, shows readers the students who benefit from the Alabama Accountability Act (

Arizona: Gil Shapiro, a spokesman for FreeThought Arizona, says parents can’t be trusted to home-school or choose a good school for their child (Arizona Daily Star). Linda Thomas, a member of the Oracle School Board, says parents can be trusted to pick a good school (Arizona Daily Star).

California: Larry Aubry at the Los Angeles Sentinel says charter schools are civil rights failures because they are more segregated than traditional public schools. Avery Bissett, a student at Chapman University, says vouchers would provide the state an inexpensive experiment on how to improve public education (Orange County Register).

D.C.: Scott Pearson, director of the D.C. Public Charter Schools Board, says charter schools have helped to improve public school performance (Washington Post).

Georgia: During a debate among Democratic candidates for the open state school chief position, state Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan said she will “buck the Democratic party for the best interest of children” and supports charter schools and tuition tax-credit scholarships (Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Florida: Denisha Merriweather, a former tax-credit scholarship student, tells her story (redefinED). Ron Matus, the editor of redefinED, dispels the myths surrounding the tax-credit scholarship program (Pensacola News Journal). Scott Maxwell, a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, says public schools lose when students are allowed to transfer to private schools. Chris Guerrieri, a middle school teacher in Jacksonville, opposes private school vouchers because students aren’t forced to attend private schools (St. Augustine Record).  Jac Wilder VerSteeg, a journalist based in Palm Beach County, says parents don’t know best when it comes to their own child’s education (Sun-Sentinel). The Orlando Sentinel reaches out to readers and finds 51 percent support expanding school vouchers. Two private schools have been barred from receiving McKay vouchers for reporting students that never enrolled (Miami Herald). Virtual learning labs become more popular in Lee County (NBC 2). Education leaders in Miami-Dade approve what may become the state’s largest charter school (Miami Herald).

Illinois: The Chicago Tribune hosts a debate on the merits of charter schools.

Maine:  Lee Jackson, a board member of Regional School Unit 34, says students need school choice, not school assignments based on zip codes (Bangor Daily News).

Massachusetts: Scot Lehigh, a columnist at the Boston Globe, asks state legislators if they are on the side of disadvantaged students or the adults in the teachers union. Lawmakers look to increase the cap on charter schools while adding more funds to public schools when students exit to enroll in charters (Mass Live). The Greenfield School Committee wants to end public school choice (The Recorder). The Recorder editorial board says the Greenfield School Committee should stop trying to oppose public school choice and allow students to enroll from schools outside the district. For the 10th year in a row, the wealthy Sudbury area school district votes to not accept students wishing to transfer into the district (MetroWest Daily News).

Missouri: The News-Leader editorial board says big money caused the legislature to expand public school choice to private schools. Gov. Jay Nixon says  he will veto a bill to allow students to transfer out of low-performing school districts and into private schools (Columbia Daily Tribune). There is no consensus among black Democrats in the legislature on using public funds to pay for private school tuition (St. Louis American). The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board supports the state in reconstituting a nearly bankrupt, low-performing, St. Louis-area school district but argues the community needs to do more to help. Families wait for proposed new school transfer rules to be signed or vetoed by the governor (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

New Jersey: Mashea Ashton, chief executive officer of the Newark Charter School Fund, says charter schools need to be a part of the new mayor’s education plan ( Kevin Riordan, a Philadelphia Inquirer columnist, says Camden students need charter schools.

New Mexico: Douglas Wine, executive director of the New Mexico Coalition for Charter Schools, says charter schools are held to a higher standard of accountability than traditional public schools (Albuquerque Journal).

New York: Catholic schools saved many students but now they need help (New York Post).

North Carolina: Several charter schools have been slow to hand over records on teacher salaries (WECT 6). Gregory Malhoit, a retired clinical law professor at N.C. Central University and the founding executive director of the North Carolina Justice Center, says public money shouldn’t fund religious education (News & Observer).

Ohio: Richard Lews, executive director of the Ohio School Boards Association, says local school districts provide support to charter schools and that means charter schools are siphoning resources from local schools (Columbus Dispatch). Two Democrats want to impose the same public school teacher evaluations on charter school teachers (WOUB Public News).

Pennsylvania: Reason Magazine says the Philadelphia area school district is putting its revenue stream ahead of students by attempting to limit charter school enrollment. Private school scholarship awards were announced in West Goshen (Daily Local News).

South Carolina: ABC News 4 interviews education experts, charter school operators and parents to explore the business of education.

Virginia: Kara Kerwin, president of the Center for Education Reform, makes the case for charter schools (Alexandria Times).

Washington: Charter schools are popping up all over the state, but none have been approved for Tri-City (Tri-City Herald).

Wisconsin: Rep. Robin Vos, the Assembly speaker, says school choice supporters aren’t against public schools but are for a good education for every child (Wausau Daily Herald). New schools apply to join the statewide voucher program and more than 3,400 students apply for just 1,000 voucher slots (Associated Press), but about 75 percent already attend private schools (Milwaukee Sentinel Journal, The Cap Times).

Nation: Twenty of the top 25 congressional districts populated by charter school students are represented by Democrats (Education Week). Education Week columnist Walt Gardner says hedge funds are financing charter schools without evidence they improve student achievement any more than traditional public schools. The National Center for Education Policy says the expenditure gap between charters and school districts is smaller than the revenue gap exposed by the University of Arkansas (State Impact). A civil rights group, along with the AFT and NEA, advocates stopping charter school expansion, arguing that the policy is racist (Black Voices News), but that recommended action may actually hurt minorities (redefinED).  A Friedman Foundation report shows charter schools are the biggest competitive threat to Catholic schools (National Catholic Register). Valerie Strauss is mad that former Gov. Jeb Bush says public schools are “monopolies” and “union run” schools (Washington Post). No state has passed a parent trigger bill since 2012 (Education Week). Andy Smarick of the Fordham Institute wonders what will happen to the “public” in a decentralized public school system.

Arthur Camins, director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology, says education reform won’t end poverty (Huffington Post). James Shuls says school choice won’t end poverty but it will help (Jay P. Greene’s Blog). Campbell Brown talks up school choice at the American Federation for Children policy summit in Florida (redefinED). Andrew Samwick of Dartmouth College proposes an alternative voucher program which allows parents of private school students to receive a tax deduction up to the cost of the local public school expenditure (National Review, Cato Institute). A new report out of Stanford University shows how online options can be improved for students and save state’s money (Getting Smart).