As the Florida coordinator of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), I am frequently asked by Democrats in other states why so many elected Florida Democrats support all forms of school choice, including vouchers and tax credit scholarships, but not tenure and teacher pay reforms. The answer is black middle-class jobs[Read More…]
These events are not isolated. If we are to accept Manno’s analysis, more than half the nation’s 57 million elementary and secondary school students are attending a K-12 school of their choice. Public education to these families no longer represents the traditionally zoned neighborhood school, and the leaders who they elect are taking notice.
Rhee has lent her support to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program, and she made it clear yesterday that her new advocacy group, Students First, will push for similar programs. Getting states to clear the obstacles to additional charter schools and pushing for opportunity scholarships will anchor what Rhee identified as a key component of a four-part legislative agenda for the group: an expansion of school choice and competition.
The brainchild of Rhee’s ambitions will be called Students First, a 501c4 nonprofit that she said would be politically active in supporting reform-minded candidates for political office. Just minutes after she announced her news to Oprah Winfrey’s viewers in the Chicago area, Rhee identified four parts to a legislative agenda she said she “hopes to be a gold standard for what policymakers should have in place.”
Tom’s story is a reminder that the traditional lines are forever blurred in public education. He even notes the partnership between our Tax Credit Scholarship program for 33,000 low-income children and the school district and teachers union for Tampa/Hillsborough, which is the nation’s eighth largest district. We got together to provide better professional education for teachers in both public and private scholarship schools, and the union president, Jean Clements, was graceful in her explanation to reporters: ““This is not a competition. It’s about all of us doing our best to help children who come from very difficult circumstances.”
When Duncan outlined the “new normal” in public education today, Vander Ark writes, he reminded us of the forces shaping other American industries that were browbeaten to renew themselves in the throes of the Great Recession.
This week at MichelleRhee.org, the former D.C. schools chancellor asked for some ideas on improving education. Beyond the obvious (stop discouraging students from attending charter schools, for instance), here are a few thoughts: