redefinED roundup: course choice in Louisiana, charter school performance in Boston, and more

redefinED staff

MondayRoundUp_redAlabama: The state court will allow three parents to defend the new school choice program against a lawsuit from the Alabama Education Association that seeks to overturn it (Tuscaloosa News).

Arizona: GEICO donates $8 million to the state’s corporate tuition tax credit scholarship program (Arizona Daily Star).

Colorado: Education reformers in Douglas County are facing re-election again union backed candidates who want to roll back school choice (Denver Post)

D.C.: Academy of Hope starts a charter school to prepare adults for the workforce (Elevation).

Florida: A high-profile St. Petersburg charter school is facing growing pains while it looks for a new principal and plans to open another campus across the bay in Tampa (Tampa Bay Times).

Indiana:  A Columbus area charter school is short $250,000 after an unsuccessful capital campaign, a state funding cut and enrollment drop, and the school may be forced to close (Associated Press). Kevin Chavous, chairman of Democrats for Education Reform, says school choice needs bipartisan support (Indianapolis Star).

Iowa: Joy Pullmann, editor of School Choice News, says Iowa students would benefit from vouchers or expanded tax-credit scholarships (Des Moines Register).

Louisiana: WNBA basketball star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie is a school choice advocate (The Advocate). The state superintendent of public instruction gets a tour of the new Course Choice virtual school program (The Times-Picayune). Enrollment in the voucher program is up 38 percent despite the U.S. Department of Justice’s misguided (and incorrect) lawsuit (The Times-Picayune, Associated Press). The DOJ is trying to prevent parents from defending the school voucher legislation in court (Education Week, National Review). Republican senators question the DOJ lawsuit (The Times-Picayune). A new documentary, “Rebirth” examines the post-Katrina New Orleans school system (Education Week). School performance is up and the number of low performing schools is down in New Orleans (The Times-Picayune, The Advocate).

Maine: 1,500 students were approved to transfer to schools outside their districts last year (Maine Sun Journal).

Maryland: The University of Maryland opens a new college preparatory charter school near the university campus (Washington Post).

Massachusetts: Boston area charter schools continue to outperform peer schools and remain a popular option for parents and students (Boston Foundation).

Michigan: Students in grades 5-12 will now be allowed to take two online courses per semester (Education Week).

Mississippi: With a new state superintendent and newly passed school choice legislation, Mathew Lynch, an education professor at Langston University, believes the state’s education system is on its way up (Huffington Post). There may be no charter schools in Mississippi in 2014 as the Charter School Board doesn’t plan on approving applications until June 2014 (Clarion Ledger).

New Jersey: The CEO of the Newark Charter School Fund says the next mayor needs to be pro charter school like Senator Cory Booker (Star-Ledger). The Evsham school district may have to close an elementary school due to declining enrollment but the district superintendent is considering opening up the district so students outside the district can enroll (Courier Post).

New Mexico: An Albuquerque public school principal says the district should copy Denver, which has district-wide public school choice (Albuquerque Journal).

New York: Education reforms in New York City are working and it may be bad for students if they are rolled back by the next mayor (The Atlantic). New Yorkers are divided as to whether charter schools should be charged rent for using vacant school buildings (Gotham Schools). A Center for Reinventing Public Education study shows that charter schools are not discriminating against special needs students (Heartlander). President Obama praises New York City for education reform and innovation (Gotham Schools).

Pennsylvania: Propel charter schools, which educates 3,000 students in Allegheny County, promotes Tina Chekan – who started as a kindergarten teacher – to the role of CEO and school superintendent (Pittsburgh Business Times). Ben Boychuk, editor of City Journal Magazine, and Joel Mathis, editor of Philadelphia Magazine, debate the value of charter schools (News Day). School choice is not to blame for the problems of Philadelphia schools (Watchdog).

South Carolina: The Palmetto Policy Forum mails 25,000 parents booklets highlighting their educational choice options (Associated Press). Opponents of school choice worry it will fuel re-segregation of schools (The State). Special needs kids benefit from school choice (Watchdog).

Texas: The Canyon-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund is teaming with KIPP to open a new charter school in Dallas (Dallas Business Journal). A professor at the University of Texas – San Antonio says the public education crisis was manufactured to push school choice (My San Antonio).

Virginia: Lt. Gov. E.W. Jackson says the Commonwealth needs school choice and competition (Richmond Times Dispatch).

Washington: Twenty-three groups have filed papers expressing interest in opening charter schools (Associated Press, Education Week).

Wisconsin: Mary Burke, Democratic candidate for governor, says she will keep the voucher program capped at 1,000 students (Wisconsin State Journal). Oshkosh public schools have lost students to school choice for seven straight years but the transfers have slowed this year (The Northwestern). Half of all virtual schools in the state did not meet performance expectations (Journal Sentinel).

Nation: Gabriel Sanchez Zinny is president of a blended learning company and he says Hispanics must embrace innovation to improve education (Huffington Post). K12 Inc. is learning about management and market expectations (Education Week). KIPP charter schools are no excuse schools, but they have a softer side too (Education Next). Check out some case studies in digital learning (American Enterprise Institute). The National Association of Charter School Authorizes says measuring the progress of alternative charter schools isn’t done very well (Education Week). Why are private school teachers paid less than public school teachers? (The Atlantic). Schools in the north and midwest face severe financial pressure from charter schools and a declining tax base (The Atlantic). Ed reformers are not all of like mind, as some critics contend, in fact, there appears to be a bitter clash over virtual school operator K12 Inc (Washington Post).

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