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Podcast

Paths to equity in private school choice: Matthew Ladner, pocastED

Note: This is part of a three-part series of podcasts on Nevada's new education savings account program. See our conversation with Seth Rau of Nevada Succeeds here. In Part 3, we will talk with Howard Fuller. Nevada's first-of-its-kind education savings account program has highlighted a philosophical difference among some within the school choice movement, which has previously aired on this blog and elsewhere. Should private school programs be open to all students, or should eligibility be limited to the disadvantaged — such those with lower incomes, or those with special needs? In a recent piece published by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Howard Fuller, long a...
McGrath FLVS

Blended learning and keeping up with kids’ needs: Amy McGrath, podcastED

Increasingly, Florida's school districts are offering virtual courses and district leaders are talking about adapting to an environment where at least some learning is digital for nearly all their students. At the same time, Florida Virtual School, an institution that helped pioneer these shifts, is recruiting students for a new, physical campus at its Orlando Headquarters. Some students taking classes with the state's largest online learning provider will soon have a place to meet in-person with teachers and fellow students, where they'll be able to work on projects and receive support. Amy McGrath, the director of FLVS Campus, explains in a podcast interview that the Florida...
Eric Garner protest

Eric Garner and the soul of education reform: Derrell Bradford, podcastED

The tragedies that drew thousands of people into the streets in cities around the country this past weekend have also prompted soul-searching in the education reform movement. If our goal is to respond to the educational needs of disadvantaged communities, can we ignore the other injustices in their lives? How can we help transform the institutions that failed Eric Garner, long before he died at the hands of New York City Police? Derrell Bradford, executive director of the New York Campaign for Achievement Now, wrote this reaction to the non-indictment of the officers responsible for Garner's death, which is worth reading...

Black pastor (and former Democrat) explains support for school choice

If there's one thing Republicans have right, it's about the power of competition to shake up unresponsive bureaucracies, including those that oversee public school systems. So says prominent African-American pastor Manuel Sykes, who had Tampa Bay political circles buzzing last week amid an announcement that he would be moving to the Republican Party. The move may have been precipitated by local issues like local Democrats' efforts to stifle his run for Congress, but it's also another indicator of political crosswinds that have buffeted left-leaning school choice supporters for years. Sykes, the longtime pastor at Bethel Community Baptist Church in St. Petersburg,...

Joe Trippi: It’s time to put all school choice options on the table

Some people grow up on the wrong side of the tracks. Joe Trippi, the legendary Democratic consultant, grew up on the wrong side of the school zone. On one side of the arbitrary, invisible line that ran down his street in L.A.: safe schools, high school grads, kids who went on to college and careers. On the other side: gangs, dropouts, a dead end. Trippi got across the line, thanks to a tenacious mom. But, he told redefinED in a recent phone interview, he’s haunted by what happened to the kids who didn’t. And 50 years later, he’s aghast that...

School choice doesn’t carry R or D label

Anyone who denies the growing bipartisanship around all things school choice should pause to consider what happened in Rhode Island this year. There, in one of the bluest of blue states, a member of the Democratic leadership team sponsored a statewide voucher bill, turning to the Friedman Foundation for help crafting the bill language. Rep. Elaine Coderre’s bill didn’t pass in the session that ended last week. But it’s expected to get serious consideration next year and Coderre is confident Democrats will be on board. “Absolutely believe it or I wouldn’t be doing it,” Coderre, the Speaker Temporare, told redefinED in the...

Course choice: putting school choice on steroids – Michael B. Horn, podcastED

Perhaps the most far-reaching education legislation in Florida this year isn’t getting much attention, overshadowed by bills like the parent trigger. But buzz or no, the quietly cruising “course choice” proposal is on the leading edge of a revolution in online learning. It takes school choice and “puts it on steroids,” said Michael Horn, a leading thinker on digital education, in the redefinED podcast below. The course choice bills in Florida are sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach. They would allow providers from virtually anywhere to create state-approved courses in K-12 and higher...

‘We can’t ignore the pleas of our parents anymore’ – BAEO President Kenneth Campbell, podcastED

Elected black Democrats who support vouchers and charter schools are slowly but surely finding themselves less isolated. And for that, they can thank relentless parents, said Kenneth Campbell, president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. The tide is changing because of “this constant drumbeat that they’re hearing from parents about how much their kids are struggling,” Campbell told redefinED in the podcast interview attached below. “More and more people are just coming to this realization that even if I don’t necessarily like the people that are proposing this, we don’t have any other options. And we’ve heard that time...