redefinED roundup: Scholarships under legal attack in FL and AL, Catholics rally for choice in NY & more

MondayRoundUp_redAlabama: A state judge struck down the tax credit scholarship program on procedural grounds while ignoring the teacher union claims that the program violated separation of church and state (Montgomery Advertiser, Education Week, AL.comWAFF, Watchdog). Lawyers for the state and parents file a motion to lift the injunction against the program ( Parents and teachers react to the judge’s ruling (WSFA 12). Judge Reese, who declared the tax credit scholarship program unconstitutional, is a Democrat and has thwarted Republicans on education issues in the past ( Katherine Green Robertson, a senior policy counsel for the Alabama Policy Institute, says the court decision was a political attack on students and school choice (

California: Campbell Brown spotlights Vergara v. California, where nine students are suing the state over education policies they argue worsen quality (The Daily Beast).

Colorado: A group opposing education vouchers takes their case to the state Supreme Court (Chalkbeat).

D.C.: A proposed bill will make it easier for children of charter school teachers to enroll where their parents work (Washington Post).

Florida: The first proposed charter school conversion in Broward County awaits approval (Miami Herald). A group amends a 2009 adequacy lawsuit to include McKay Scholarships, tax-credit scholarships and charter schools as culprits for the alleged under-funding of public schools (Orlando Sentinel, redefinED). The Florida League of Women Voters release a report critical of charter schools (Jacksonville Free Press, Orlando Sentinel, Tampa Bay Times). Charter school advocates call the report “flawed” (Palm Beach Post). Henry Fortier, the superintendent of Catholic schools for the Orlando Diocese, says school choice doesn’t pit private schools against public schools (Orlando Sentinel). Leaders in Pinellas County react to changes in the law including the expansion of school choice in the state (Tampa Tribune). School choice critics ask the governor to veto the new laws expanding school choice in the state (WJHG).

Illinois: The Chicago Tribune hosts a debate between school choice supporters and opponents (Huffington Post). The senate votes to require charter schools to accept special needs and English language learners (Sun Times).

Indiana: A group opposing vouchers and charter schools previews a documentary to teachers, union members and school administrators (Muncie Free Press). Enrollment at Indiana Cyber School doubles but the school is still in debt (Trib Town).

Kentucky: Jim Waters, president of the Bluegrass Institute, says charter school critics shouldn’t focus on administrator salaries when some school districts have more employees making over $100,000 a year than the state capitol (Times-Tribune).

Louisiana: The last five traditional public schools in New Orleans close their doors for good (Washington Post, Gov. Bobby Jindal roasts President Obama over many issues including parental choice (Times-Picayune). The House votes 73-15 to allow students to transfer out of  lower-performing schools (New Orleans Business Journal). Test scores for voucher students improve (Times-Picayune).

Michigan: Ingrid Jacques, deputy editorial page editor of The Detroit News, says New York City’s charter schools should be a model for Detroit. Virtual school students write about how the school impacted them (Sentinel-Standard).

Minnesota: Charter school critics claim it is difficult to hold the schools accountable (Crookston Times).

Missouri: George Parker, a senior fellow at Students First, says creating education options helps create more equality (St. Louis American). Gov. Nixon vetoes a bill that would allow students in failing districts to transfer to private schools (St. Louis-Post Dispatch). The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board says the governor was right to veto.

New York: Catholics rally to support tax credits for private school education (Buffalo News, YouTube). Catholic leaders in Buffalo say Gov. Cuomo broke his promise to support passage of a school choice program (WBFO 88.7, New York Post). NewYork Post columnist William McGurn wonders if Gov. Cuomo lied to the Catholic Bishops about his support for a statewide school choice program for low-income students. The Working Families Party considers school choice critic Diane Ravitch as their gubernatorial candidate (New York Daily News). The state auditor general says a private school for special needs students misspent $3 million (New York Daily News).

North Carolina: Supporters and opponents of school choice make their case at a leadership forum in Asheville (Citizen-Times). Twenty-two charter schools release teacher pay figures to the Charlotte Observer and the newspaper finds charter teachers make less district teachers (Charlotte Observer).

Ohio: New dropout prevention high schools pop up in the state to compete with a for-profit management company that oversees several dropout prevention high schools (

Pennsylvania: Valerie Strauss says the state is destroying the Philadelphia school district (Washington Post).

South Carolina: Molly Spearman, a Republican running for state superintendent of education, says she supports tax credit scholarships and homeschooling (Aiken Standard). Mick Zais, the current superintendent of education, says Spearman is a political opportunist and not a real supporter of school choice (Aiken Standard).  Mary Carmichael, the executive director of the Public Charter School Alliance of South Carolina, says charter schools are changing student lives in a positive way (The State).

Tennessee: Shelby County approves two new charter schools and unveils a new evaluation tool to measure charter and traditional school performance (Chalkbeat). Metro Nashville school district approves a study on the fiscal impact of charter schools on the district (The Tennessean).

Texas: KIPP charter schools and local public schools in Houston partner to share space, resources and teachers (Kera News).

Wisconsin: PolitiFact grants gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke a “Mostly True” rating on her claim that the state’s voucher programs have “no research that shows that it’s going to improve student learning.” Christian Schneider, a columnist at the Milwaukee Sentinel-Journalsays vouchers need a chance to grow. Demand for vouchers is up (Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal, WQOW). The state ranks 7th for most charter schools (Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal).

Nation: The Friedman Foundation releases a report on regulations for private schools that participate in school choice programs (redefinED, Jay P. Greene’s Blog). Lawmakers in the U.S. House introduce a bill that would create a pilot voucher program for students of military parents (Education Week). Kyle Olson, the founder of Education Action Group, outlines his ideas for making education run more like Apple and a lot less like Amtrak (The Blaze). James Maloney, a senior director at a Washington D.C. based public affairs firm, says charter schools are often held to higher standards than traditional schools (Providence Journal).

Peter Greene, a teacher, says conservatives shouldn’t support school choice (Huffington Post). James Shuls, an education researcher at the Show-Me Institute, says Peter Greene doesn’t understand conservatives or school choice (Friedman Foundation). Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, say privatizing education is profitable for a select few (National Journal). Walt Gardner, a charter school critic, says the criticism of Kipp’s “character education” is unwarranted (Education Week).