Podcast

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...

Taking school choice to the class level – Florida Sen. Jeff Brandes, podcastED

Florida has been a national leader in expanding parental school choice via magnets, charters, vouchers, tax credit scholarships, career academies and virtual classes. Now a state lawmaker wants to hasten the customization wave by opening up choice at a more fundamental level: Class by class. A bill filed by freshman Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, would allow providers of all stripes to create state-approved “charter courses” in K-12 and higher ed, and allow students to choose a la carte. “We’re offering choice within choice,” Brandes said in a podcast interview with redefinED, attached below. “You might go to a charter school. And...

School choice can help Muslims bridge two worlds – Kathy Jamil, podcastED

Kathy Jamil, the principal of an Islamic school in Buffalo, N.Y., has a suggestion for anyone who balks at the inclusion of Muslim schools in school choice programs. Please, come visit. "This is something that I wish I could just get on a soapbox and just shout at the top of my lungs,” Jamil told redefinED in the podcast attached below. Before passing judgment on Muslim schools, she said, “We hope that those who have fears … would take the opportunity to get to know them." Anti-Muslim bigotry is a small but steady undercurrent in school choice debates. In the past year alone,...