Private Schools

Parents ‘highly satisfied’ with nation’s largest private school choice program

The nation’s largest private school choice program is popular among parents, with 92 percent reporting they are satisfied with the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and 89 percent reporting they are satisfied with their chosen schools, according to survey results released Tuesday. The survey by the advocacy and research group EdChoice is the latest, and largest, survey of private school choice parents, and asked a number of questions beyond simple satisfaction. Researchers Jason Bedrick and Lindsey Burke wanted to know what difficulties parents faced and what factors they considered when choosing a private school, as well as the level of parental...

Study: More school choice regs = lower school choice quality

Ramping up regulations on a hypothetical school choice voucher program results in fewer private schools opting to participate, and lower quality among those that do, according to a new study released this week. The study is based on responses from private school leaders in Florida. “The Effects of Regulations on Private School Choice Program Participation: Experimental Evidence from Florida” is spotlighted in the latest edition of Education Next. It examined the impact of three different potential regulations on a hypothetical voucher program: standardized testing, open-enrollment, and the prohibition of charging tuition beyond the voucher amount. Researchers Corey A. DeAngelis, Lindsey Burke and...
Jewish Schools

Jewish schools in Florida on alert after Pittsburgh shooting

Officials from Jewish schools in Florida said Monday they are remaining vigilant after a gunman killed 11 people Saturday at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa. Rabbi Chaim Friedman, director of development for Yeshiva Elementary School in Miami Beach, said he is always looking at ways to upgrade security at his school, which serves 500 students. (About half use the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship for low-income students). “We are worried about the future,” he said. In recent years, Yeshiva has beefed up security and now has its own armed guard. Even before the Pittsburgh shooting, security at Jewish schools in Florida has been...
hurricane damage

Panhandle private schools ravaged by hurricane damage

As public schools remain closed in eight counties in Florida’s Panhandle after Hurricane Michael, private schools are also picking up the pieces left by the storm’s aftermath. Several private schools also sustained major damage, with some having to rebuild. Step Up For Students, a nonprofit that administers the state’s tax credit scholarship program among others (and publishes this blog), identified 26 private schools that are in the areas most affected by the hurricane. As of Wednesday, Step Up officials say they had only been able to reach nine of those schools. One school in the Catholic Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee — St....

Lessons from the Renaissance school

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – With a little help from their culinary instructor, the multi-ethnic group of first- and second-graders at BB International School chop, grate, dice, squeeze, season, stir and serve. They tong noodles into bubbling red sauce. They sprinkle in chili flakes. And along the way, they learn far more than how to rock an impressive bucatini with amatriciana. The instructor, Alexa Altamura, adds a dash of math (slice the onion into cubes), a drop of geography (the pink salt is from the Himalayas), a pinch of global trade (tomatoes are originally from Mexico). She folds in a smidgen of anatomy...

Fundraising begins for school choice scholarship for bullying victims

Fundraising officially began Monday for the first state-supported school choice scholarship in America aimed at helping K-12 students victimized by bullying. The Hope Scholarship gives parents of eligible students the opportunity to find a safer learning environment among private schools participating in the program. It also allows parents to transfer their child to another K-12 public school with available capacity within the school district, or to receive funding to transport the student to a public school in another school district. The scholarship was created by the Florida Legislature last spring, signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott, and will be administered...

Go & grind: School choice gives this principal a platform to inspire

MIAMI – Little Havana is in a hurry. Long before dawn bathes the palms in soft light, thousands of workers stream from neighborhoods where modest homes are tucked in tight as pastelitos in a Cuban bakery. Ignition. Traction. Acceleration. Past the store fronts with the proud Latin names. Past used car lots studded with American flags. Past the restaurant walk-up windows where smooth, sweet cortaditos pump fuel into true believers. In the thick of this working-class hum is a faith-based school once harassed by Fidel Castro. He couldn’t kill La Progresiva Presybterian. Neither could the teachers union. Now it’s thriving...

From bullied and failing to Hope, honors and college

GROVELAND, Fla. – The sign at their church trumpeted the opening of a new private school: HOPE ACADEMY NOW ENROLLING For Adaijah Jackson and her mother, Sheila James, the word Hope was all they saw. “It was an answer to prayer,” Sheila said, smiling and shaking her head at the memory. “The timing was just perfect.” Adaijah (pronounced ahd-asia) was desperate to leave the neighborhood school where she had nearly failed 10th grade. Sheila was a single mom with two children and a job working the overnight shift at a convenience store. She never thought she could afford Hope. But the school told her about...