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From rebellious to role model, thanks to a Florida charter school

Editor’s note: This month, redefinED is revisiting stories that shine a light on extraordinary students. Today’s spotlight, first published in December 2017, tells the story of a feisty Orlando teen who evolved from drama queen to top student. ORLANDO – Mia Freytas navigates the hallways of Renaissance Charter School at Hunter’s Creek like a rock star, high-fiving teachers, blowing kisses to first-graders...

Public school deregulation: How would it affect voucher support?

Florida’s school choice critics have long complained about Florida’s testing regime. They’ve even bundled this frustration with state testing, and other regulatory burdens, into their opposition to school choice programs like the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship or the new Family Empowerment Scholarship But what if public schools were subjected to the same light-touch regulations on testing that private schools accepting...

Science project, hit movie has scholar reaching for the stars

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Zanaya Chase wants to be a fashion designer. Or a scientist.  Or, a fashion designer and a scientist. For as long as she can remember, Zanaya has dreamed of designing outfits that are mall-hip or red carpet-chic. Lately, her creativity is leading her in a new direction: spacesuits. Functional and stylish. “If a lady wants to go into space and she wants...

Money is not the answer

Decades of cross-sectional research shows a weak relationship between K-12 spending and academic outcomes. During the Jeb Bush era in Florida, for instance, we saw the following outcomes: For those squinting at your iPhone, that’s a very weak relationship between state spending increases and academic gains. While Florida had the smallest increase in funding, it was among states with the...

Appeals court weighs major education law

By Jim Saunders and Tom Urban, The News Service of Florida TALLAHASSEE - Appearing skeptical of arguments made by school boards, an appeals court Tuesday waded into a challenge to the constitutionality of a 2017 state law that seeks to boost charter schools. Numerous school boards across the state filed two lawsuits contending that the law infringed on their rights to...

Invisible gorillas aplenty in Florida education debates

Editor’s note: Misinformation abounds across the education choice landscape, adding confusion to an already complex issue. The redefinED team is dedicated to shining a light and providing the facts. Today’s post debunks an oft-repeated misconception: The manner in which the new Family Empowerment Scholarship is funded is unprecedented, unconstitutional, and at odds with how the state defines public education....

Charter schools without private choice killing private schools in Michigan

The Detroit Free Press reported last week that Michigan private schools have been closing at a rate of approximately two per month for the last decade. The map below shows the location of these closures. The article states: “Religious schools make up the majority, but nonreligious schools, preschools, Montessori schools and others have closed as well. In all, more than 200 private schools...

Jacksonville private school, scholarship fueled student’s emotional turnaround

Editor’s note: This month, redefinED is revisiting stories that shine a light on extraordinary students. Today’s spotlight, first published in March 2017, tells the story of a Jacksonville youth who overcame great obstacles to get his life on track. Lost. That’s where Pamela Howard feared her son, Malik Ferrell, would end up after years of struggles at different schools in Jacksonville. She...

Reflections of a parent organizer

Florida frequently is viewed as a model for the school choice movement, especially when it comes to parent advocacy. So why is it so hard for other states to replicate the Sunshine State’s methods? This is the question I’m pondering as I reflect on a recent parent organizer training in Milwaukee hosted by EdChoice, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works...