Podcast

Improving public education, by choice: Darryl Rouson, podcastED

Florida State Sen. Darryl Rouson went to Catholic schools from first grade through college. He wants low-income families from his district to have the same opportunity. He's sent his own children to public schools, so he wants Florida's public school system to be as strong as possible. During a podcast interview with Denisha Merriweather, a Florida school choice alum now studying to become a social worker, Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, explains how his life experience has informed his view that supporting school choice and supporting public education are not in conflict. "I want a high-quality, fully funded public education, but at the...

Two generations of school choice advocates: Virginia Walden Ford, podcastED

Two of Virginia Walden Ford's children went to public schools and thrived. They had access to mentoring programs and classes that nurtured their talents. But it was the experience of her youngest child, William, that led her to become a school choice advocate. In middle school, he started to show signs of academic struggles. At the same time, drugs and gang activity were on the rise in the family's working-class neighborhood in the nation's capital. "I always said I would never lose my kids ... to the streets, but I knew that if I didn't do something, then the possibility that...

Catholic schools belong in the ed reform conversation – Jill Kafka, podcastED

Over the summer, a group of Catholic schools in Harlem and the Bronx posted some attention-grabbing results. Their students took the same tests as children in New York's charter and traditional public schools. State data showed that, on average, all types of schools improved. But the Partnership Schools improved faster. For the second-straight year, the results of this experiment in urban Catholic education lent credence to the idea that— like a few related efforts elsewhere in the country — it belongs in the larger effort to improve urban school systems, particularly for disadvantaged students. "We really can be a proof point," Jill...

The school choice agenda in Congress – Rep. Luke Messer, podcastED

Congressman Luke Messer has been telling his fellow Republicans they can't just be against the federal government's role in education policy. They also need to fight for something. That's one reason Messer, R-Indiana, helped launch the Congressional School Choice Caucus. And he recently joined Denisha Merriweather, a Florida tax credit scholarship alum, for a podcast interview, in which he describes an agenda that could advance the cause on Capitol Hill. He is sponsoring the Enhancing Educational Opportunities for all Students Act. The legislation would give states the option to allow federal Title I dollars to follow low-income students directly to whatever school they attend. The bill...

‘This is about kids. This is not about politics.’ – John Schilling, podcastED

Many of the people pushing for more private school choice options around the country have two goals. They want to make scholarships available to a broad range of students, including those in the middle class who don't have access to the same choices as wealthy families. At the same time, they want to make sure school choice programs prioritize the needs of the most disadvantaged children. In our latest podcast interview with Florida tax credit scholarship alumna Denisha Merriweather, John Schilling says that if the school choice movement does things right, it can achieve both at the same time. "It's definitely better...

Empower teachers to empower students – Gerard Robinson, podcastED

Over the past few weeks, the NAACP has faced constant pushback from education reformers and school choice advocates for its proposed stance against charter schools. Some of that pushback has come from Gerard Robinson, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, who recently wrote a series of blog posts unpacking the proposal However, on our latest podcast, he says it's important to remember where the civil rights organization is coming from. The organization's advocacy forced many public schools to integrate for the first time, he says, and helped pave the way for him to become a state education chief...

Building blocks of educational choice – Lindsey Burke, podcastED

Last week, at the Republican National Convention, it was clear that school choice gives conservatives a positive way to talk about education policy. But for people who typically want to keep the federal government out of education altogether, what does a national agenda look like? On the latest edition of our podcast, Lindsey Burke, an education policy fellow at the Heritage Foundation, says there are ways Congress can promote educational choice without expanding the federal government's role. It can re-allocate existing pots of funding so they follow children to schools of their choice. It can also promote choice-friendly policies in areas where the federal government has...

‘We’ve got to figure this out’ – Connnections Education, podcastED

A virtual classroom might include an aspiring tennis pro traveling in Europe, a child in the hospital battling cancer, and a student who left a traditional classroom to escape bullies. Two decades ago, it would be inconceivable that these disparate students would be learning together, with guidance from the same teachers. And it would be just as inconceivable that their school would be judged based on their combined academic performance. Steven Guttentag, the president and co-founder of Connections Education, one of the country's largest operators of online charter schools, says the diverse needs of students who enroll in online schools create...