redefinED roundup: Charter school parents in New York, tax credit scholarships in Montana & more

MondayRoundUp_whiteNew York: More than 1,000 charter school parents rally in Albany to convince the state to let charter schools compete for state funding for pre-K (Fox23 News).

Montana: Lawmakers hear from parents and other child advocates who want their state to open charter schools and support giving families more choices, such as tax credits (Great Falls Tribune). Bills to create a tax credit scholarship program pass out of committees on mostly party line votes (Helena Independent Record). More from the Billings Gazette.

Ohio: Half the students in the state would be eligible for private school vouchers under an expansion proposed by Gov. John Kasich to include all low-income children (ClevelandLeader.com).

Texas: House Speaker Joe Straus warns the Senate that it might not want to go “full bore” on a school voucher bill, calling it an “exercise in futility” (Dallas Morning News). Four groups aiming to open charter schools next year turn in applications that have material copied from other applications (Dallas Morning News).

Florida: The Florida House approved a bill that makes it easier for charter schools to grow, but calls for increased accountability (redefinED). The bill also gives charters greater access to district facilities, something one school official said would be a “logistical nightmare” (Palm Beach Post). More from Tallahassee Democrat. Private schools can apply to administer the FCAT, but, so far, only two have (Orlando Sentinel).

North Carolina: A potential influx of charter schools in the southeastern part of the state raises funding concerns for both charters and districts (StarNewsOnline.com).

Pennsylvania: A slew of schools in the Allentown and Bethlehem areas are dubbed failing by the state, making their students eligible for tax credit scholarships (The Morning Call).

Tennessee: School districts receive 39 letters of intent from charter school groups that want to open new charters (The Tennessean). Voucher programs usually create more questions than answers, says a Vanderbilt University professor during a panel discussion (The Tennessean).

Louisiana: The president of the Board of Secondary and Elementary Education says the state Department of Education should be dismantled and restructured to better support state schools, including more charter schools: “We should set people free and then hold them accountable” (Monroe News Star).

Georgia: A Christian school in Woodstock is among those that accept tax credit scholarships while banning gay students (Woodstock-TowneLake Patch). The charter school system in the city of Dublin is getting attention as lawmakers consider a parent trigger bill (Macon Telegraph). A parent trigger bill clears a House education subcommittee and heads for a full committee vote this week (Atlanta Journal Constitution).

Arkansas: Lawmakers are considering proposals to rewrite a district-to-district school choice transfer law that a federal judge found unconstitutional last year (Associated Press).

Maine: The state charter schools commission approves two charter schools a month after rejecting four of five applications (Bangor Daily News).

New Hampshire: Lawmakers consider a bill that would increase per-pupil spending in charter schools by $1,100 (Eagle Tribune). More from the Concord Monitor.

Indiana: Lawmakers hear testimony on a bill that would expand the state’s voucher program, in part by removing a requirement that students complete at least one year in public school to become eligible (StateImpact Indiana). The House Education Committee approves it on a party line vote (Associated Press). More from the Evansville Courier & Press. Gov. Mike Spence supports the expansion (Associated Press).  District officials are worried about lost dollars (Springfield News Sun). Lawmakers will consider pre-K vouchers for low-income families (Associated Press).

Oklahoma: A bill that would have required the top administrators and board members of charter schools to be American citizens - a response to concerns that some charters have ties to a Turkish Muslim sect –  fails in committee (The Oklahoman).

Washington D.C.: Charter schools are growing faster than district schools, according to the latest state enrollment figures (Washington Post). Rocketship Education proposes to open eight charter schools, enrolling 5,000 students by 2019 (Washington Post).

Maryland: Baltimore school officials may close several charter and independent schools with high-profile supporters but academic and financial problems (Baltimore Sun).

Wisconsin: Debate intensifies over how best to compare quality in public schools versus private schools (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Local chapter of Democrats for Education Reform lobby for school vouchers and more funding for charter schools (Journal Sentinel). Voucher supporters are putting money into a race for a state Supreme Court seat (The Capital Times).

Washington: A bill in the state legislature would put new limits on online learngin options (Moscow-Pullman Daily News).

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