Texas: Sen. Dan Patrick’s school choice bill makes an ambitious attempt to expand charter schools, lifting the statewide cap on the number of charters and requiring school districts to sell or lease underutilized classrooms or other facilties to charter operators (The Texas Tribune). More on the bill, including possible concessions by Patrick on the charter cap ( American-Statesman). Patrick cries in committee as he advocates expansion of school choice (Associated Press).
Louisiana: A $5 million federal training program offers $50,000 grants to teachers to help turn around failing schools. The program will serve either as a stop-gap while more charter schools ramp up to provide students with better learning options, or as an alternative approach to fix a failing system with the selected district schools operating similar to charters (Education News). A mother’s struggle to find a quality school for her sons points to a key failure in New Orleans’ lauded choice-based system: options abound, but they’re not always reputable ones (The Lens).
Arkansas: A Senate committee votes down a proposal for a tax credit scholarship program (Associated Press).
Florida: A parent trigger bill clears a third House committee and heads for a House floor vote (redefinED). Charter school lobbyists focus this legislative session on winning state money for maintenance and facilities, or, the right to use empty space in traditional public schools free of charge (Tampa Bay Times).
Tennessee: A voucher bill forwarded as a broader alternative to Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposal is withdrawn (Associated Press). But the debate continues over how many children the program should serve (Memphis Commercial Appeal). Pressed with the need for charter operators in his district, one state lawmaker is considering a proposal to allow for-profit charters; Rep. John DeBerry says the idea is to help well-meaning operators with the business-side of running charter schools (The Tennessean). The Walton Family Foundation is investing $1 million to help create four new charter schools in Memphis (Memphis Business Journal).
Georgia: A parent trigger bill is pulled amidst concerns from Republican lawmakers (Atlanta Journal Constitution). Proposed legislation could force school districts to consider parent petitions to turn non-failing public schools into charters (Atlanta Journal-Constitution). A proposal to expand the state’s tax credit scholarship program clears a key House committee (Atlanta Journal Constitution).