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Home schooling

Parents should never have the authority to purposely raise an illiterate child

I agree with Utah state Sen. Aaron Osmond’s assertion that over the last 150 years government has used compulsory school attendance laws to inappropriately usurp much of the parents’ responsibility and authority for educating their children. But while I believe this educational responsibility should be restored to parents, I also believe compulsory school attendance laws should be maintained, with some modifications. When mandatory school attendance laws were first passed in the mid-19th and early-20th centuries, brick-and-mortar schools and formal instruction were synonymous. That’s not necessarily the case today. In this new era of digital technology and customized teaching and learning, students...

Enrollment hit to Florida Virtual School drawing lawmakers’ attention

Florida lawmakers are starting to key in on a recent funding change that has put a big dent in enrollment at Florida Virtual School, with one promising the issue will be revisited in coming months and another saying action against school districts may be warranted. When legislative committees meet in Tallahassee in September, “I can guarantee you this is going to be discussed,” said Rep. Carl Zimmermann, a Pinellas Democrat who sits on the House Education Committee. At issue is a change to the state’s education funding formula that lawmakers approved last spring. Under the old method, districts received their full...

No question, parents flock to school choice

  The American Federation of Teachers released a new survey this week, “Public School Parents and the Promise of Public Education,” that claims many things. But most important to school choice supporters, it says the vast majority of parents prefer traditional public schools and are opposed to educational options. The quality of any survey is heavily dependent upon the methodology applied and, of course, the questions asked. AFT and the firm that did its survey, Hart Research Associates, condensed their findings in a short memo that’s worth reading. The memo suggests the survey question about vouchers may be misleading participants by directing...

Florida roundup: School grades, charter schools, Space of Mind & more

Charter schools. What happened to the Ben Gamla charter school in Pinellas is a "study in bad charter school governance." Choice Words. Parents try to figure out what to do now that a struggling charter school in Deland is closing. Daytona Beach News Journal. Ditto for the parents of a charter school in Lutz. Tampa Tribune. After 22 years in traditional public schools, a local principal is hired to lead the city of Cape Coral charter school system. Fort Myers News Press. Homeschooling. The Palm Beach Post takes a look at Space of Mind, a pricey but fascinating home-school school...

Towards a united front on school choice

Vouchers, here. Charters, there. Virtual, over there. Politically, school choice sectors have been islands. But there are signs the movement is building bridges to advance common goals. Florida's lead here surfaced at this week’s American Federation for Children summit, during a panel discussion on just that topic. In the Sunshine State, charter schools and supporters of vouchers and tax credit scholarships have teamed up to advance legislation, said panelist Jon Hage, founder and CEO of Florida-based Charter Schools USA. “We realized it was time to join forces,” Hage said. “We felt we were sort of the Army, and they were the...

More than 1,000 rally for school choice in Florida

More than 1,000 school choice supporters from across Florida rallied at the Capitol in Tallahassee Wednesday, in an event that for the first time represented just about every school choice sector. The parents and students came from magnet schools, career academies, virtual schools, charter schools, home schools and private schools that accept vouchers and tax credit scholarships. Among their messages: Options matter. "If your child was in the same situation and he's not progressing, you have to do what you have to do," said Eboni Tucker-Smith, who used a McKay voucher to put her son Daquan in an Orlando private school after...

Seeing a little progress in a New York Times lead

Two years ago, we launched redefinED in an attempt to help opinion leaders, the public and the mainstream media understand how public education is being transformed and redefined. So the following lead in yesterday’s New York Times was, even if by mere coincidence, gratifying to read:  “A growing number of lawmakers across the country are taking steps to redefine public education … legislators and some governors are headed toward funneling public money directly to families, who would be free to choose the kind of schooling they believe is best for their children, be it public, charter, private, religious, online...

Why school voucher opponents should reconsider

In a blog entry last week, “I’m rethinking my opposition to school vouchers. Convince me,” Nicole Stockdale, the assistant editorial page editor at the Dallas Morning News, said she is grappling with whether to support school vouchers. What stimulated Nicole’s dilemma is a bill in the Texas Legislature to allow low-income families to use tax credit scholarships (often referred to as school vouchers) to pay private school tuition and fees. She deserves a serious reply to her challenge, and, given I am president of a Florida nonprofit that administers the country’s largest tax credit scholarship program for low-income children, I...