MondayRoundUp

Alabama: The state’s new tax-credit scholarship program has nearly reached the $25 million cap (AL.com). A councilman of Birmingham says the Alabama Accountability Act must be repealed (AL.com).

Alaska: The state should abolish the Blaine Amendment and allow private school vouchers (Daily News Miner).

Arizona: Education reformers plan to rapidly expand the Education Savings Accounts program if the state Supreme Court approves (Arizona Daily Sun). The Arizona Daily Sun editorial board takes a stand against expanding Education Savings Accounts, instead arguing that the state should spend more money on traditional public schools. A Republican state senator owns businesses that have financial dealings with his own tax-credit scholarship organization (CBS 5).

California: Gloria Romero, a Democrat and former state senator, argues school choice is a parent’s right (OC Register). Some public schools that convert to charters are seen as charter schools in name only (Seattle Times, Joanne Jacobs). Market competition leads to collaboration in L.A public school choice (EdSource). The California Charter Schools Association calls for the closure of a low-performing charter school managed by UC Davis, Sacramento City College and the Washington Unified School District (Sacramento Bee). Will the state embrace charter schools (San Diego Tribune)? San Diego earns low scores on the Brookings Institution’s school choice index (Press Telegram).

D.C.: Thousands of parents attend a school choice convention to find the right school for their child (Washington Post). Democracy Prep, a charter school from New York City, will be taking over an Imagine charter school in the district (Washington Post).

Delaware: A judge blocks the closure of an all girls charter school on 14th Amendment grounds (Education Week).

Florida: Four school districts in the state rank in the top 25 for school choice according to a new Brookings Institution report (redefinED). Virtual charter schools grow (redefinED). The Duval County School District holds an expo to advertise public school choice options to parents (Action News Jacksonville). Legislators propose two competing charter school bills, one creating a standardized contract to make it easier to form charter schools and the other to require surety bonds before a charter school can open (Sun-Sentinel, Tampa Bay Times). Another proposed bill would allow charter schools to share space with district schools (Miami Herald).

Georgia: New rules require charter schools to score as well as or better than the state and district averages on the state’s 110 point grading scale, or risk having their charters revoked (Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Illinois: An op-ed writer says Chicago has too much school choice (Chicago Business). Six Catholic elementary schools are slated to close by next year (Chicago Tribune).

Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal asks the court to reconsider the decision to allow federal monitoring of the voucher program to ensure racial balance (Times-Picayune). The U.S. Department of Justice is asking the court for the power to veto any voucher award (Cato Institute, National Review, Catholic Online). A state panel suggests a new way to fund the Course Choice program (Shreveport Times). New Orleans tops the Brookings Institution’s school choice index (Watchdog). School choice empowers parents (Business Report). New Orleans shows how urban districts can create real achievement growth through school choice (US News and World Report).

Michigan: Michigan needs private school choice (Mackinac Center for Public Policy).

Mississippi: A Nashville Tennessee charter school plans to expand and open a campus in Jackson (Clarion Ledger).

Missouri: Republicans are not in agreement over public school choice as some worry about bankrupting the poor-performing districts by allowing students (and money) to leave (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

New Hampshire: A proposed bill would boost charter school funding from 40 percent of the state’s per pupil average to 50 percent (NPR New Hampshire).

New Jersey: Federal rules threaten charter school participation in Newark’s innovative one application program, which allows parents to apply to multiple district and charter schools at once (Huffington Post).

New Mexico: Education chief Hanna Skandera says education reform isn’t always comfortable (Albuquerque Journal).

New York: The school district in Buffalo will help kids needing an alternative education find the right private school and a private fund will help low-income students pay the tuition (The Buffalo News). New York scores high on Brookings Institution school choice report (New York Post). Parents protest a lawsuit that would block charter schools from co-locating in unused public school buildings (New York Daily News, CBS New York). Charter school critics contend the schools force low-achieving students out but a new government study shows no difference in transfer rates between charter and district schools (New York Times). However, the same study shows that most special needs students transfer back to the district schools by 3rd grade (New York Daily News). Wealthy New Yorkers back tax-credit scholarship efforts (News Journal).

North Carolina: With so much school choice, parents must research to find the best schools (Charlotte Observer). The state board approves 26 new charter schools (Education Week). The editorial board of the News & Observer thinks charter school expansion should be “conservative.”

Ohio: Charter schools allow the state to do more with less (Tribune-Chronicle). A charter school founder accused of $6 million in fraud has been acquitted on 6 charges but the jury is deadlocked on 54 others (Philadelphia CBS).

Pennsylvania: Virtual charter schools grow rapidly (Education Week).

South Carolina: The state promised to approve a list of tax-credit scholarship organizations by December 31, 2013 but over a week into the new year and the state has yet to approve a single non-profit to issue special needs scholarships (The State, The RepublicFitsnews). A Rock Hill school board member cherry-picks a 5 year old charter school report  to make a case against charter schools (Herald Online).

Tennessee: Gov. Bill Haslam proposed a low-income voucher bill last year but hasn’t decided if he will support a voucher bill in 2014 (WPSD 6, Education Week, The Tennessean). The state board opposes any and all voucher proposals (Daily News Journal). Charter schools market themselves to parents as competition grows (Memphis Daily).

Texas: Trustees at the Dallas Independent School District will hear proposals for public school choice at the next meeting (Dallas Morning News). Greg Abbott is running for governor and his platform includes school choice and more local control for school districts (Fox News Austin). A school choice guidebook helps Dallas area parents find the best public, magnet and charter schools in the region (Dallas Morning News). Virtual schools are a popular option for high school students in Houston (ABC Houston).

Vermont: The headmaster of a $40,000 a year New York City private school opposes vouchers (Valley News).

Washington: A state senator says charter schools drain money from public schools (Pierce County Herald).

Wisconsin: A proposed bill would allow more colleges and universities to sponsor charter schools (NPR, Education Week). The Walton Family Foundation has poured $30 million into Milwaukee in support of school choice (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel). The governor’s educational proposal includes collecting student achievement information from private schools into the state’s database (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).

Nation: Republican and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor teams up with the left-of-center Brookings Institution to unveil its new school choice report (National Journal). Canter pushes school choice as a means to help end poverty (Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Brookings Institution). Cantor vows to protect charter schools and vouchers and threatens a potential investigation into New York City’s anti-charter school Mayor Bill de Blasio (Newsmax, Politico, New York PostWall Street Journal, Washington Post). Many parents support vouchers according to a survey by the Friedman Foundation (Education WeekredefinED, ReutersPR Newswire, Friedman Foundation, Jay P. Greene’s Blog). Education Week asks education leaders what they are excited about in 2014. Education reform stories to watch in 2014 (US News & World Report). Stephen D. Sugarman, a law professor at U.C. Berkeley,  penned an academic article on tax-credit scholarship programs in the Journal of Law and Education. Progressives should adopt school choice to help combat poverty and income inequality (The Atlantic). Jonathan Rosenberg, a civil rights attorney, has been recruited to promote Hebrew charter schools around the country (The Jewish Week). The Department of Defense changes data collection rules regarding virtual schools to allow virtual school students to enlist in the armed forces (National Association for Public Charter Schools). School choice is growing rapidly around the nation (Education Week). Charter schools create competitive, fiscal and regulatory pressure on school districts (Education Week). Districts create virtual schools to compete with growing virtual charter school options (Education Week). Check out Education Week‘s summary of private school choice programs around the U.S.

World: The founder of one of the United Kingdom’s first “free schools” has been arrested and accused of fraud (The Independent). Six students at a free school in one of the poorest neighborhoods of England have been offered admissions to Oxford and Cambridge (The Guardian). Parents in England have had the right to choose a public school for their child since 1980 but one academic believes that right should be eliminated (Herald Scotland).

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