Education politics

teacher unions

podcastED: ‘We will see widespread school choice when we can educate teachers on the truth’

Rebecca Friedrichs is the fearless California public school teacher best known for being lead plaintiff in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the high-profile lawsuit that – until the unexpected death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016 – was destined to end the union practice of forcibly collecting “agency fees” from non-union members. (Subsequently, last June, Janus v. AFSCME did end the practice.) But what people may not know about Friedrichs is how much her support for educational choice fueled that crusade. In her just-released autobiography, “Standing Up To Goliath,” Friedrichs details her rise from rank-and-file teacher to anti-union...

Doug Tuthill: Public education and journalism

I have spent my entire 42-year professional career working in either education or print media. Moving back and forth between the two was always easy because their functions are so similar. Both help people acquire the information and knowledge they need to be good citizens. When historians write about education in the early days of our republic, they focus on print media because that was the country’s primary public education system in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries.  Government-subsidized mail delivery in the 18th and 19th centuries made access to public education via print media available to the masses....
Florida Capitol

Top lawmakers preview legislative choice agenda

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Two of the Florida Legislature’s biggest players in education policy indicated Wednesday that accommodating students on waiting lists for education choice scholarships would be a priority in this year’s legislative session. Both Senate Education Committee Chair Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, and House Education Chair Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora, spoke at a luncheon celebrating National School Choice Week at the James Madison Institute. Diaz said his priority will be addressing the 13,000 students on the waiting list for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and the smaller waitlist for the Gardiner Scholarship. “I’m looking forward to having the Senate lead,” Diaz said....

New school choice group launches to advocate for children and families

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A new organization aimed at ensuring families can choose the best education environment for their children launched today with an announcement from the group’s founder and chairwoman. Former Collier County School Board member Erika Donalds said the School Choice Movement will focus on improving and expanding school choice in all its forms, adding that she became aware as a parent and a school board member that many families have insufficient options for school choice. “Children are either on a waiting list for a scholarship or a charter school or they don’t qualify for one of the scholarships that...

Florida Gov. DeSantis highlights school choice support on MLK Day

LAUDERDALE LAKES, Fla. – New Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis used the backdrop of Martin Luther King Jr. Day to underscore his commitment to expanding educational choice, addressing an audience at a predominantly black, all-boys private school where every student is a recipient of a state-backed choice scholarship. DeSantis told about 200 members of the Piney Grove Boys Academy community – students, parents, educators and other supporters – that he supports a definition of public education that includes publicly funded options beyond district schools. “We don’t want somebody’s potential to be limited because they happen to live in this zip code or...

From the Vault: MLK and God’s schools

Editor’s note: This column originally appeared in redefinED on Aug. 26th, 2013, as part of a series to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. We are reprising it as the nation prepares to celebrate what would have been King’s 90th birthday. I grew up in a Minnesota city of 100,000 with - in my time - one black family. My introduction to the reality of public school segregation came in 1962 as - now at Northwestern in Chicago - I agreed to probe the public schools of the district on behalf of...

Doug Tuthill: To have an education grand bargain for Florida’s future, look to its past

A day after the Florida Board of Education unanimously approved former House Speaker Richard Corcoran to be Florida’s new Commissioner of Education, the new president of Florida’s state teachers union extended an olive branch. Florida Education Association (FEA) President Fedrick Ingram told the Tampa Bay Times: "We want to work with anyone who wants to empower our public schools…If we have to consult, work with and possibly collaborate with Mr. Corcoran, we will certainly do that to the extent possible, if Mr. Corcoran wants to do that…What I want is genuine conversation, policy talk about what can empower the classroom,...
florida supreme court

Justices reject challenge to state education system

Jim Saunders / News Service of Florida TALLAHASSEE --- A fiercely divided Florida Supreme Court on Friday rejected a nearly decade-long lawsuit that challenged whether the state has properly carried out a 1998 constitutional amendment that called for ensuring a “high quality” system of public schools. The decision upheld lower-court rulings and focused heavily on the role of the judiciary in addressing sweeping issues such as the quality of public schools. A main opinion shared by Chief Justice Charles Canady, Justice Alan Lawson and Associate Justice Edward LaRose said plaintiffs in the case failed “to present any manageable standard by which...