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Education politics

2019 EdNext poll: vouchers, tax credits and charter schools

Editor’s note: On Wednesday, redefinED reported on one aspect of Education Next’s latest survey of public opinion – the extent to which the public underestimates the amount of money spent on K-12 education. We continue exploring the survey today, reviewing responses related to questions about vouchers, tax credits and charter schools. Methodology This portion of the survey looked at trends in public opinion between 2016 and 2019 on four school choice policies: targeted vouchers limited to students from low-income families; universal vouchers for all families; tax credits for contributors to organizations that give scholarships to low-income families; and charter schools. The...

Do we really want K-12 education to go back to ‘the good old days’?

We humans seem wired to romanticize the past, which at times can be a fuzzy pastime, and at others, an unhealthy delusion. The phenomenon crops up frequently in our K-12 conversations, with people tending to assume schools were better in the past and that they're much worse now. This is clearly not the case in Florida. Take a look at this table from the National Assessment of Educational Progress for eighth-grade math. The data displayed are for the United States and Florida, and the three largest student ethnic/racial student groups. The years selected are the most recent available (2017)...

Education savings accounts: their evolution in Arizona

Editor’s note: This post is the second installment of a short series on the origins of K-12 education savings account programs. In the first installment, Dan Lips, a visiting fellow with the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity and the originator of the concept which eventually became the AZESA program, described the turn of the millennium school choice debates that shaped the development of his original ESA proposal. Below, redefinED executive editor Matthew Ladner describes the circumstances that led to the adoption of the first ESA program in Arizona. “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. One...

Armed guards, busing woes, nepotism and more

Armed guards: Despite the extreme rarity of school shootings, Florida law requires an armed guard in every school. And despite that law, a third of Broward County charter schools still do not have an armed guard. Miami Herald, Sun Sentinel, Florida Politics As many as 200 schools may not have armed guards. News Service of Florida. A state commission on school security got heated on Wednesday when a discussion erupted over the new guardian program that allows armed teachers in classrooms with school district approval. The panel is expected to meet with the Broward superintendent today over charter schools...

Commentary: Parental choice is an effective form of accountability

Editor’s note: The Gainesville Sun editorial board, in an opinion posted July 28, called for greater oversight for private schools that will receive about $130 million this year from the state budget for a new voucher program. The editorial alleges these private schools lack accountability to ensure academic quality, a highly-trained teacher force and policies that prevent discrimination against students. Executive director of Florida Voices For Choices Catherine Durkin Robinson responded in a column the Sun published Tuesday, arguing that school accountability should be a balance between regulations and family choice.    In a recent editorial, The Sun equated regulation of...

Education savings accounts: a vehicle for parental choice

Executive editor’s note: This is the first in a short series of articles documenting the origins of Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account program. AZESA was the first education savings account (ESA) program, and it seemed like a good idea to tell this story before any of us involved got hit by a passenger bus or suffered some other sort of calamity. ESAs started in Arizona, and Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee have followed suit, while bills are being filed in dozens of other states. In this post, Dan Lips, a visiting fellow with the Foundation for Research on Equal...
McKay Protest picture

The fight for education equity continues as new school year begins

As students begin returning to classrooms, I can’t help but notice that some parents are willing to risk it all for their child’s education. Many are not satisfied with their current learning environment and have taken extreme measures for a chance to have an equal opportunity. Reports across the United States reveal that parents lie, cheat, and find loopholes to beat the system because they want their children to have a better chance than they did. Recently, the Chicago Tribune reported that some parents are willing to give up their guardianship in order for their college-bound child to qualify for financial...

An education choice advocate reflects on benefits of A+ plan

Editor’s note: redefinED continues to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the K-12 reforms launched by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, collectively known as the A+ accountability plan, with this post from Step Up For Students' executive director for advocacy and civic engagement. In her first-person piece, she recounts how she became aware of the legislation that transformed education throughout the state and how it impacted her family. Back in 1999, when Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the Legislature decided to put the A+ Plan into effect -- thereby increasing accountability for schools, rewarding them for improved outcomes and creating options for...