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Ed choice scholarship was ‘a Godsend’

Editor's note: Each Saturday in September, redefinED is dipping into the archives to revisit a compelling story written from the perspective of a parent advocate. Today's post features a mom who utilized a Gardiner Scholarship to provide her special needs son with educational resources he would not have received otherwise. We had become parents a second time. This time it...

A roadmap for the future of education in Florida

Two decades ago, Florida planted the seeds of ambitious education reform that have proved fruitful. The Sunshine State has seen significant improvements in academic achievement and graduation rates – Education Week recently ranked the state fourth in the nation in K-12 achievement for the second year in a row -- while simultaneously expanding opportunities for families to choose the...

‘No excuses’ charter school network’s migration to Tampa Bay gets a jumpstart

IDEA Public Schools’ goal to expand to the Tampa Bay area got a boost this week with the pledge of a $5 million gift from the Vinik Family Foundation. The gift will help launch new schools in Hillsborough, Polk and Pinellas counties and follows the Hillsborough County School Board’s unanimous approval in May for IDEA to begin operating schools in...

From public school teacher to rebel for educational choice

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – First day of school. Pick-up time. As 375 giddy students clotted in The Foundation Academy  courtyard, Nadia Hionides, the K-12 school’s founder and principal, made the rounds. She asked returning students how their summers went. She asked the new ones if they made new friends yet. One girl toggled from cheerful and chatty to turning her head...

SUFS president Doug Tuthill: ‘Get serious about this equity conversation’

In a recent interview with WFSU Public Media news director Lynn Hatter, Step Up For Students president Doug Tuthill spoke about his first-hand experience with segregation as a student in the 1970s as well as his experience as an educator on the front lines of the magnet school movement in the 1990s. While much progress has been made over the...

Elizabeth Warren underestimated reality when calling for ‘all voucher system’

In the film “The Blues Brothers,” Jake and Elwood Blues impersonate a country-western band to get a gig at Bob’s Country Bunker, hoping to score some quick cash to help fulfill their “mission from Gawd.” Performing on a stage rimmed with chicken wire, the band’s initial rhythm and blues set is met with a cascade of boos and hurled...
school choice

Finding the right fit for an atypical learner

Editor's note: Each Saturday in September, redefinED is dipping into the archives to revisit a compelling story written from the perspective of a parent advocate. Today's post features a fearless mom who questioned the status quo to ensure her special needs son received the education he needed and deserved.  If anyone were to ask me this time last year if...

Should homeschool parents support school vouchers?

While recent national data suggest homeschooling growth may be slowing, a report issued this week by the Cato Institute concludes that the homeschooling population is increasing many times faster than the K-12 public school population in a number of states with particularly favorable education choice programs, including Florida. The report, “Homeschooling and Educational Freedom,” by Kerry McDonald of the Foundation...

Florida public schools? No. 4 in K-12 achievement? Why, yes.

Call it Florida’s best-kept secret: In an era defined by the mainstreaming of school choice, Florida public schools now routinely rank among the nation’s best in academics. Don’t believe it? Check out the latest “Quality Counts” report from Education Week, which came out this week and put Florida public schools, again, at No. 4 in K-12 achievement. Only Massachusetts, New Jersey...