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Charter Schools

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 operate school districts. One of the major issues in the case is the law’s authorization of “schools of hope,” a new type of charter school aimed at areas where children have been served by traditional public schools that are low...

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 have closed since 2009, according to data from the Michigan’s Center for Educational Performance and Information.” Research from the Rand Corporation foretold this Michigan trend more than a decade ago. A Rand study focusing on the impact of charter schools in Michigan...

Charter school ‘Nerds’ head to National Science Olympiad

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – They may call themselves “The Nerds,” but to their peers at the River City Science Academy charter school, the group of 15 dedicated bookworms is as celebrated as any championship-level athletics team. On Saturday, River City’s science team will compete for the second consecutive year at the Science Olympiad National Tournament held at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. River City’s squad is one of two teams from Florida, and one of 60 middle school teams from around the country that will compete, along with a Japanese team also vying for the championship. There are nearly 8,000 Science...

Sanders misses point on education reform

When Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic candidate for president, recently revealed his education plan, most of the ensuing news coverage focused on his criticism of charter schools and his call for a moratorium on their expansion. Cue the usual op-eds and pundits booing him, attacking socialism and railing against infringements on a “competitive free market.” I’m here in Florida booing the usual pundits. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a longtime Sanders supporter who was disappointed in his attacks on a movement bringing equity to public education. He’s misguided and misinformed. His opinion is baffling coming from someone who values “Medicare for All.” A...

Florida’s Teacher of the Year focuses on social, emotional learning

Editor’s note: redefinED is paying tribute to National Charter Schools Week with this spotlight on Joy Prescott, 2019 Florida Teacher of the Year. To learn more about the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, click here. To read an earlier story about Prescott, a fourth-grade teacher at Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School in Glades County, click here. Joy Prescott took the stage at Pompano Beach High School sporting a smile any early-morning TV host would envy. Before about 200 members of the Broward County chapter of Florida Future Educators of America, the Florida Department of Education’s 2019 Teacher of the Year shared...

revisitED: Rosa Parks, school choice supporter

Editor’s note: This month, redefinED is revisiting the best examples of our Voucher Left series, which focuses on the center-left roots of school choice. Today’s post from March 2016 illustrates how civil rights activist Rosa Parks believed in the value of giving parents more educational choice. If the full, rich history of school choice wasn’t so hidden, perhaps it’d be less shocking to stumble on a link (hat tip: Chris Stewart) between charter schools and “the first lady of civil rights.” But since so much of that history remains off radar, I have the honor of amplifying the blip. Rosa Parks...
school choice

New scholarship capped historic legislative session

Florida’s 2019 legislative session rewarded supporters of school choice as the House and Senate created the Family Empowerment Scholarship and boosted funding for charter schools. The new state-funded K-12 scholarship will help get 18,000 low-income and working-class students off a waiting list for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC) for lower-income families. (The FTC scholarship is managed by non-profits such as Step Up For Students, which hosts this blog.) The 18-year-old scholarship serves 100,512 students this year and is funded by corporate contributions that receive dollar-for-dollar state tax credits. However, the rate of growth in contributions slowed this year and failed...
education choice

With liberty and justice for some

By Keith Jacobs The most polarizing aspect of the traditional public school system is that students encounter extensive and troubling variations in their school experience based on their socioeconomic or minority status. This aspect has for decades produced discriminatory practices. Minorities and low-income families, for whom education is the link to success and escape from generational poverty, have suffered the consequences of a system that does not understand, nor adjust to, their needs. Nationwide, an achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students has persisted for nearly 50 years. So, what role should the government play in ensuring that these rights are restored...