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Charter Schools

Fordham Institute report: Rising tide of charters lifting all boats

Forget about the charter vs. district school debate. The more important question is whether student achievement improves overall. Does a rising tide of charter school enrollment lift the overall achievement boat? The Fordham Institute released a report to address exactly that. As charter school enrollment increases as a percentage of the total students within a district (called “market share” by the report’s authors), the achievement gains of all students, within both charter and district, improve. According to the report, urban areas with high concentrations of black and Hispanic enrollment in charter schools saw significant math and reading achievement gains for...

Should we feel optimistic or pessimistic about American K-12 education’s future?

A recent poll conducted by Real Clear Opinion Research shows that Americans don’t hold the country’s public education system in high regard. The poll drew responses from 2,014 registered voters on their views and expectations of K-12 education between Sept. 20-24. This Real Clear Opinion infographic below summarizes many of the results. Respondents were asked to rate the importance of 15 goals from reading and writing proficiency to engagement in civil discourse. Blue dots indicate how many rated the importance as either a 6 or 7 on a 7-point scale. Red dots indicate how the respondents think the overall public...

The state of school choice in the U.S.

Charter schools and home schooling are experiencing major growth. Meanwhile, there were no significant differences between students in charter schools and traditional public schools in average reading and mathematics scores on national tests in 2017. Those are two of the key findings in the U.S. Department of Education’s (USDOE) latest report, “School Choice in the United States,” which updates the national changing landscape for school choice with changes in enrollment data, academic performance updates, and parental satisfaction surveys. Nationally, charter public schools and district schools increased enrollment while private schools declined. Overall, there were around 57.8 million K-12 students...

Bridging the gap between left and right on education choice

“If you care about children, parents, and communities, you can’t vote for Bernie Sanders. He’s the teachers’ union candidate.” This is the message educational opportunity activist (and CEO of Education Post) Chris Stewart posted on Twitter over the weekend. Too many parrot this type of argument, and it’s hurting our movement. Never mind that the teachers union didn’t endorse Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election, and an endorsement this time around remains a long shot. The idea that the millions of Bernie supporters lined up to vote for him don’t care about children, parents, or communities is weak. It’s also...

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 education settings that work best for their children. But even as the roots of success continue to take hold, the tree of knowledge requires further cultivation to ensure it thrives for all students over the next 20 years -- and beyond. That’s...

‘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 the area starting in 2021. IDEA Public Schools, a network of tuition-free, college preparatory public charter schools, serves nearly 53,000 college-bound students in 96 schools across Texas and Louisiana. The program's founders chose the name IDEA, an acronym for "Individuals Dedicated...
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 I thought Enoch, my 12-year-old son, would receive Honor Roll, I would sadly say “no.” Not because he did not try, but because he was not the “typical learner” and was being passed along. Watching your child deteriorate emotionally, academically...

A little better all the time

I used to get mad at my school (No, I can't complain) The teachers who taught me weren't cool (No, I can't complain) You're holding me down Turning me round Filling me up with your rules I've got to admit it's getting better (Better) A little better all the time (It can't get no worse) I have to admit it's getting better (Better) It's getting better Since you've been mine Getting so much better all the time! -- John Lennon and Paul McCartney Editor’s note: redefinED concludes its commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the K-12 reforms launched by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, collectively known as the A+ accountability plan, with...