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Educational Choice News

"Waiting In The Dark: In NOLA, School Choice Brings Early Mornings, Long Bus Rides" from WWNO

on Tuesday, 03 October 2017.

On a corner in the Ninth Ward, four elementary school kids are waiting for their bus under a street lamp. It's dark outside. A bony cat slinks across the street, and a rooster crows somewhere — prematurely since the sun is nowhere in sight.

Minutes later, headlights appear at the far end of the street, and a yellow school bus pulls up. The kids climb aboard and wave goodbye to David Brooks — dad to two of the kids and uncle to the others. Their school day has begun, and it's barely 6 a.m.

New Orleans is one of few cities in the country that's all in on charter schools. More than 90 percent of Orleans Parish public school students attend charter schools. Leaders of the city's post-Katrina education overhaul tout rises in student test scores, graduation rates, and ACT scores. But with those improvements have come new challenges for families when it comes to getting to school.

Continue reading "Waiting In The Dark: In NOLA, School Choice Brings Early Mornings, Long Bus Rides" from WWNO.

"Is School Choice Enough?" from National Affairs

on Thursday, 28 September 2017.

As with so many issues — from trade and immigration to Russia and taxes — the Trump presidency has exposed a schism within the conservative movement when it comes to education policy. While expanding parental choice is a paramount objective on the right, a key question is whether choice alone is enough, or if results-based accountability ought to be sustained and strengthened, too. How this question is resolved will have wide-ranging consequences — for education reform in general and for the design of school-choice initiatives in particular.

Let's start in the realm of broad agreement: Conservatives believe that parents should be able to choose schools for their children that match their educational priorities and moral values. This principle stems from our deep respect for the family as the building block of a free society. A child is not a "mere creature of the state," and thus the state should not get to dictate where the child attends school.

Continue reading "Is School Choice Enough?" from National Affairs

"Study: School Choice Program in Florida Boosts College Enrollment" from US News

on Wednesday, 27 September 2017.

The largest private school choice program in the country, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, significantly improves the likelihood that students enroll in college, according to new research.

 The findings provide positive news for private school choice proponents who have recently endured an onslaught of research showing negative results for students enrolled in similar programs. The news also comes as the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress are readying a tax-reform attempt viewed as a likely vehicle through which the administration can pursue its private school choice agenda, though broad outlines of goals for that legislation have not mentioned an education component.

"The Rise of Tax Credits: How Arizona Created an Alternative to School Vouchers -- and Why They're Spreading" from Chalkbeat

on Monday, 18 September 2017.

With its recent adoption of a tax credit scholarship program, Illinois became the 18th state to adopt an innocuously named — but highly controversial — policy that critics have described as a “backdoor voucher.”

In some sense, the description is apt. But by injecting a middle layer into the government’s support of private school tuition, tax credits help avoid some of the legal and political obstacles that have dogged efforts by advocates, like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, to promote school choice through vouchers.

Perhaps as a result, more students now use tax incentive programs than vouchers to attend private schools in the U.S. A federal tax credit is also seen as the Trump administration’s favored approach for promoting school choice at the federal level, though its immediate progress looks increasingly unlikely.

Continue reading "The Rise of Tax Credits: How Arizona Created an Alternative to School Vouchers -- and Why They're Spreading" from Chalkbeat.

"Betsy DeVos Waiting for 'Right Time,' Circumstances for a Choice Initiative" from Education Week

on Sunday, 17 September 2017.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who has spent decades advocating for private school vouchers and charter schools, came to Washington with one item at the top of her agenda: to push for a new federal school choice initiative.

Her vision is running into trouble on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers in both chambers have failed to fund either of the school choice proposals in the president's budget. And it's looking less and less likely that the White House will push to include a federal tax credit scholarship program in a sweeping tax overhaul package that's slated to be unveiled soon.

So where does that leave the secretary? She is not giving up, she said in a wide-ranging interview with Education Week last week. And she wants to make sure the administration pursues the best possible school choice policy.

Continue reading "Betsy DeVos Waiting for 'Right Time,' Circumstances for a Choice Initiative" from Education Week.