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Education politics

school choice

DeSantis budget cuts to impact Florida charter schools

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has vetoed just over $1.35 million in funding that would have gone to several charter schools around the state, including Academy at the Farm in Pasco County and Somerset Academy in Jefferson County. The cuts were part of the $131 million in appropriations the governor excised from the $90.9 billion budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year, which begins Monday. The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment. The veto disappointed Ray Polk, principal at Academy at the Farm. The K-8 school had requested $650,000 to fund infrastructure improvements and plans to expand to begin...

‘Public’ schools?

A recent article in the New York Times described, and in general, approved a particular system of education choice for parents of school children. Once again, however, the Times reports the frustration of lower-income families whose very able child doesn’t quite make it into one of the super-schools – called “public” – which are populated principally by the children of non-black parents. The predominant racial group actually admitted is Asian; these children are the champs on the decisive eligibility exam. So superior are they on the determining test that their enrollment in the super-schools has been limited by quota...

Accountability comes in different forms

Editor’s note: One of the most pervasive of all education choice myths is the one that claims schools that accept scholarships are not held accountable to the public for their success -- or failure. We looked at the "no accountability” myth last week but take a deeper dive in today's post. You can see more myth busting here, or by clicking the link at the top right-hand corner of this page.     Many cultures around the world have a common trope: a mythical creature parents invoke to scare their children into behaving. It goes by different names – the bogeyman, Baba Yaga,...

Jeb Bush’s A+ Plan anniversary: 20 years to the day

“I think we’re in for a renaissance in public education.” With these words, Gov. Jeb Bush signed into law on June 21, 1999, a bill that set in motion his vision for the future of education in Florida. The A+ Plan, which had been Bush’s top campaign promise when he ran for governor, aimed to toughen standards for teachers, students and schools. It called for the state to assign letter grades to all schools, end social promotion and institute statewide testing in grades 3 through 10. The plan’s philosophical underpinnings ran deep. According to testimony Bush delivered before the U.S. House of...

Debunking the ‘no accountability’ myth

Editor’s note: Misinformation abounds across the education choice landscape, adding confusion to an already complex issue. The redefinED team is dedicated to shining a light and providing the facts. Today’s post debunks an oft-repeated misconception: Private schools that accept scholarships are not held accountable. You can see more myth busting here, or click the link at the top right-hand corner of this page.     Education choice critics have argued for years that voucher programs divert tax dollars from public schools to “unaccountable” private schools. That misperception has now become a popular talking point for opponents of Florida’s new Family Empowerment Scholarship. A...

On Democrats and charter schools

A recent Education Week article noted that former vice president Al Gore called for a tripling in the number of charter schools when he ran for president in 2000. Two decades later, those seeking the Democratic presidential nomination span the gamut from shying away from the topic of charter schools to calling for a national moratorium on them. In the meantime, the charter school count grew from 1,990 to 7,010 by 2016, with an enrollment growth from 0.4 million to 3 million. SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), “Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe...

Disparities in political power undermine education equity

Those of us who are career educators know the veracity of the old saying, “Every education decision is a political decision.” This is especially evident in how school districts and their elected school boards distribute resources. In most school districts, affluent families with political influence have access to more and better resources than lower-income families with less political influential. Teaching, for example, is the most valuable asset school districts distribute. Research shows that Inexperienced first-year teachers are much more likely to teach in high-poverty schools than in schools serving affluent families. This disparity in political influence and resource allocation undermines...

Want a Twinkie, Alberto Carvalho?

In the 1989 cinematic masterpiece Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, our heroes travel through time to assemble historical figures for a high school history presentation. Upon arriving in 13th century Outer Mongolia, Ted “Theodore” Logan tempts a world-conquering barbarian military genius into the duo’s time machine by offering a pastry and posing the question, “Want a Twinkie, Genghis Khan?” You can view the clip here. What does that have to do with K-12 education policy? I’m getting to that. Over at Chamber Business News here in Arizona, I participated in the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Bill and Ted’s...