The latest cattle call of GOP presidential contestants — sans former President Donald Trump — mainly maintained Iowa nice, a departure from last month’s first fiery primary debate and a similar Christian conservative event in July hosted by conservative talk show host lightning rod Tucker Carlson.Read More
It’s back to school for Florida students and many others across the country this week. The first days and weeks of a new school year are always filled with anticipation, adjustments, transitions and growth for parents and students. Yet, this school year’s “firsts” for an expanding pool of families also includes the first time that their children will have the resources and freedom to enroll in the school of their choice. The short and long-term consequences of these new opportunities aren’t just experienced within the four walls of a home or school building, or by the families now empowered to pursue them – the impact of education choice stretches across communities and economies, helping to unleash prosperity and growth that benefits everyone.Read More
The state of Florida says a record number of students are either participating or have applied to the state’s two school choice scholarship programs.
In a news release, Gov. Ron DeSantis stated that almost 430,000 scholarship applications had been received for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and the Family Empowerment Scholarship programs.Read More
A new EdTrends poll of voters in the swing states of Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Nevada, shows that Democrats have given up what was once a double-digit lead on “trust in education” and are now lagging behind Republicans by three percentage points.
The poll revealing the historic shift was released Friday by Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), an organization that lobbies for Democrat candidates and heads campaigns to achieve “educational equity for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.”Read More
A growing number of states are adopting a comprehensive new type of school choice program that would pose a threat to public schools if many students were to leave them for a private education.
Eight states – including Arizona, Florida, Indiana, and West Virginia – have approved “universal” or near-universal school choice laws since 2021. They open the door completely to school choice by making all students, including those already in private schools and from wealthy families, eligible for about $7,000 to $10,000 in state funding each year for their education.Read More
As the school year ends and legislative sessions adjourn, Chalkboard updated its review of which legislatures nationwide are implementing school choice measures that provide education options for students and their families and which states have removed them.
Several states across the country have recently adopted legislation that would allow students to attend any school of their choice using taxpayer dollars, something that advocates call universal school choice. Critics of the legislation say such measures will divert money away from public school systems that need the funds.Read More
So far in 2023, six states signed school choice legislation into law, giving millions of families and their children education options, including access to taxpayer-funded vouchers.
Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Utah, South Carolina and Oklahoma all signed legislation into law that makes at least some, if not all students within the states, eligible for taxpayer funded vouchers or a tax credit that can be used on education expenses such as private school tuition, textbooks and transportation. Under the legislation enacted in 2023, millions of students across the country are now able to attend schools outside their designated zip code or apply to receive funding in order to seek a private or a homeschool education.Read More
Oklahoma state superintendent of schools Ryan Walters repeated Saturday that teachers’ unions are “Marxist” and “terrorist” organizations that are not advocating for students or teachers, but seeking power and financial gain for their leaders.Read More
Indiana scored the latest school choice victory with nearly all, save for 3.5 percent of families with school-age children, qualifying for the state’s new voucher program, The Wall Street Journal editorial board noted last week.
“The hits keep coming on school choice in Republican-run states,” The Journal editors observed, detailing:
The new law raises the income cap to 400% of the free- and reduced-price lunch income level, which is now about $220,000 for a family of four. The bill also removes the other criteria for eligibility so that any family under the income limit can apply. Tens of thousands of additional students could qualify, and a legislative analysis projects that some 95,000 students might use the program in 2025, up from about 53,000 in 2023.Read More
Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed school choice legislation into law Thursday that provides private and religious school students with taxpayer funds.
Under S 39, every student enrolled in a private or religious school will be eligible to receive $6,000 to spend on education related costs. The bill, signed into law by McMasters on Thursday, passed the state Senate in February and the state House approved the bill in April, 79-35.Read More
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Monday in Miami that establishes an Education Savings Accounts (ESA) program under which every family in the state can receive up to $8,000 to cover education expenses outside of the public school system. “The state of Florida is number one when it comes to education freedom and education choice,” DeSantis said at a press conference.Read More
Parent groups in California and those specifically in Los Angeles are enraged that tens of thousands of staff and teachers of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) went out on strike Tuesday, demanding higher pay and increased staffing in district schools.
“Parents are fed up with LAUSD unions using kids as pawns in contract negotiations,” tweeted Parent Union (CPC), a coalition of parents, parent groups, education reform advocates and community leaders dedicated to advancing meaningful education policies, accountability and choice in California’s K-12 education system.”Read More
Los Angeles-based psychiatrist Dr. Mark McDonald said “America’s schools are broken” beyond repair and have now become “dangerous” centers of leftist indoctrination – a problem parents must solve by changing their lifestyles, if necessary, to save their children.Read More
Florida’s Legislature will be serving up a smorgasbord of issues during the upcoming 60-day regular session that begins on Tuesday.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has said many times that Florida is the place where “woke goes to die” and passage of laws to stop it tops the agenda for the Republican supermajority in 2023.Read More
by Reagan Reese While conventional school choice programs typically involve vouchers administered by the state, Oklahoma is set to create a tax credit-based initiative to fund education outside the public school system. The state’s school choice program, which would create a refundable tax credit program for all families that…Read More
The Republican-led Arkansas Senate Thursday passed Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ (R) Arkansas LEARNS Act, a comprehensive education reform plan that seeks to eliminate Critical Race Theory (CRT) in classrooms, increase the salaries of teachers, and broaden school choice in order to “empower parents.”
“We are one step closer to unleashing the boldest, most comprehensive, conservative education reform package in the nation — a blueprint for success for the rest of the country,” Huckabee Sanders tweeted.Read More
The Florida Senate Education Committee approved a bill that will further expand education choice in the Sunshine State on Tuesday.
Education Committee Chairman Corey Simon, R-Tallahassee, introduced Senate Bill 202 which will give additional access and support to parents and students.Read More
More than six out of every 10 voters with children under 18 would be receptive to the prospect of their child attending a school outside of their locally zoned public district, a new State Policy Network poll finds. Overall, the SPN State Voices opinion poll of roughly 2,000 registered voters conducted in partnership with Morning Consult through online interviews found that 62% of respondents said they would interested in such an option, some 30% of them very much so.Read More
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, commemorated National School Choice Week by filing two bills to advance school choice, one of which his staff said would be the most significant educational reform since the GI bill. “We need to provide students with a variety of educational options to fit their needs,” Cruz told The Daily Signal in an email statement Tuesday. “I have often said that school choice is the civil rights issue of the 21st century, and I believe no differently today than I did when I began serving in the Senate a decade ago.Read More
Florida House Speaker Paul Renner announced on Thursday that he’d filed school choice legislation that would provide education savings accounts and expand eligibility to children with unique abilities.
House Bill 1, which is sponsored by Choice & Innovation Subcommittee Chairwoman Kaylee Tuck, R-Lake Placid, would expand the state’s ESA program, known as the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program. It would allow the money to be used for tuition at a home education or private school, private tutoring or an approved online course.Read More
The Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Thursday against the state’s school choice program created in 2021.
The Education Opportunity Accounts (EOA) Act created a privately funded needs-based assistance program for those seeking a private education. Those who donated to the program received a nearly “dollar-for-dollar” tax credit which the court ruled violated Kentucky’s Constitution which prohibits the collecting of a “sum” for “education other than in common schools.”Read More
The school choice movement is gaining momentum as states focus on legislation that would give families greater freedom to select their child’s education, advocates told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Utah, New Hampshire and South Carolina are pushing for more expansive school choice legislation that would increase the value of school choice vouchers and the number of eligible students, while states such as Arizona and Florida have already implemented programs that provide vouchers to students outside of the public school system. The increasing push for more school choice legislation across the country is because other states have provided the model to do so, advocates told the DCNF.Read More
Vermont families that want to send their children to religious schools will no longer be excluded from the state’s tuition benefit program, as a result of legal settlements in two cases brought by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
The plaintiffs who were denied funding under the Town Tuition Program, which provides tuition for students who live in areas without local public schools, will get reimbursement for money spent out of pocket on tuition. Other families denied funding can apply as well.Read More
EdChoice’s annual Schooling in America survey found 61 percent of Americans believe government-run education is headed in the wrong direction, while 76% of the public back parental choice programs such as education savings accounts (ESAs).
In 2022, the poll’s tenth anniversary, the survey found 61 percent of Americans and 52 percent of school parents say public schools are on the wrong track, while 34 percent of Americans and 48 percent of school parents state government-led education is headed in the right direction.Read More
The Heritage Foundation ranked Florida, followed by Arizona, as the states that most empower parents in their children’s education and support education freedom.
On Friday Heritage published its first Education Freedom Report Card which provides measures of the concept in four categories: school choice, academic transparency, regulation freedom, and spending.Read More
“School choice is good for everybody but unions, socialist bureaucrats and the tired education establishment,” libertarian John Stossel wrote Wednesday at the New York Post.
The author and journalist observed the “silver lining” of the COVID pandemic is that parents discovered alternatives to public schools and, as the statistics are telling us, they continue to act on that discovery by removing their children from them – in droves.Read More
In Massachusetts where I live, average private school tuition hovers around $23,000. For secular private schools, the cost is typically much higher, with Boston-area private school tuition often exceeding $40,000. This price tag is way too high for most families to afford, but emerging microschools are typically a fraction of the cost of other private education options.
For example, the Wilder School is a new Acton Academy-affiliated microschool that costs about $12,000 a year, while Life Rediscovered, a new homeschool resource center offering up to five days a week of full-day, drop-off learning, costs about $10,000. Even established local microschools, such as Bay State Learning Center that was founded in 2014 and that I wrote about in Unschooled, have similar tuition costs and frequently offer financial aid or sliding scale tuition.Read More
“Our goal is to have a system in which every family in the U.S. will be able to choose for itself the school to which its children go,” the Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman stated in 2003. “We are far from that ultimate result. If we had that, a system of free choice, we would also have a system of competition, innovation, which would change the character of education.”Read More
National and state teachers’ unions condemned the Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday that held a Maine tuition assistance program that bars families from using the taxpayer funds for religious schools is in violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.
Union officials denounced the ruling as one that “attacks public schools,” “erodes democracy,” “harms students,” and undermines “the separation of church and state.”Read More
In a major decision for religious freedom and school choice, the Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a Maine law that barred taxpayer tuition assistance funds from families choosing religious schools.
The Court ruled, 6-3, in Carson v. Makin, the Maine law that governs its tuition program’s exclusion of religious schools, while accepting other private schools, is a violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and is, therefore, unconstitutional.Read More
Former Democrat New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says teachers’ unions were responsible for keeping schools locked down during the pandemic, a move that has enabled a mass exodus of students from traditional government schools throughout the country.
Given the generally poor academic achievement of America’s students, the steep drop in enrollment means states are now paying more to educate fewer children, and, “paying more for failure,” he asserts.Read More
Thales Academy opened the doors of its brand new building in Pittsboro, North Carolina, Monday, as about 100 students from the academy’s Cary campus moved to the new facility in rural Chatham County.
“Chatham is the first time that Thales has been in a rural county,” Bob Luddy, the founder and chairman of Thales Academy, told The Star News Network. “So, my thought was having a facility of that quality in a rural county that’s a private initiative is going to change the way people think about K-12 education.”Read More
Most of the nation’s 48.2 million public K-12 students are assigned to their schools based on geographic school districts or attendance zones, with few options for transferring to another public school district. This method of school assignment intertwines schooling with property wealth, limiting families’ education options according to where they can afford to live.
A 2019 Senate Joint Economic Committee report found that homes near highly rated schools were four times the cost of homes near poorly rated schools. This presents a real barrier for many families – and 56% of respondents in a 2019 Cato survey indicated that expensive housing costs prevented them from moving to better neighborhoods. The challenge has only deepened as housing prices skyrocketed during the pandemic, putting better housing and education options out of reach for many.Read More
The fight outside North High School in Denver was about to turn more violent as one girl wrapped a bike chain around her fist to strike the other. Just before the attacker used the weapon, school staff arrived and restrained her, ending the fight but not the story.
Most high schools would have referred the chain-wielding girl to the police. But North High brought the two girls together to resolve the conflict through conversation. They discovered that a boy was playing them off each other. Feeling less hostile after figuring out the backstory, the girls did not fight again.
This alternative method of discipline, called “restorative practices,” is spreading across the country – and being put to the test. Many schools are enduring sharp increases in violence following the return of students from COVID lockdowns, making this softer approach a higher-stakes experiment in student safety.Read More
Five years ago, hardly anyone knew what Critical Race Theory (CRT) was, but now the phrase is a common one in American households. The Marxist-based theory advocating a race-essentialist approach to education, law, public policy, and even health care, seeks to deconstruct the foundations of society and rebuild it as “antiracist,” while discriminating against whites along the way. Many people are overwhelmed with both the pervasiveness of the doctrine and the large task of fighting it.
Parents in Loudon County, VA, have tackled the issue head on, making national news by loudly criticizing CRT and electing school board members opposed to it. Such efforts, however, have been piecemeal nationwide.
Momentum in fighting this hate-doctrine is growing, though, and many parents want to know how they can protect their children and eradicate such teaching from their local schools. Catrin Wigfall, a Policy Fellow with the Center of the American Experiment, offers some practical ways parents can fight CRT.Read More
They’re not exactly schools, but they’re not homeschools either. They have elements of structured curriculum and institutional learning, while offering maximum educational freedom and flexibility. They provide a consistent, off-site community of teachers and learners, and prioritize abundant time at home with family. They are not cheap but they are also not exorbitant, with annual tuition costs typically half that of traditional private schools.
Hybrid schools are, in the words of Kennesaw State University Professor Eric Wearne, the “best of both worlds,” drawing out the top elements of both schooling and homeschooling while not being tied too tightly to either learning model.
Wearne studies hybrid schools and is the director of the National Hybrid Schools Project which seeks to better understand this educational approach and why it’s been gaining popularity in recent years. Wearne joined me on this week’s episode of the LiberatED Podcast to talk more about hybrid schools and how they are reshaping American education.Read More
As more families and teachers flee government schools, the Biden administration – bound to the teachers unions – has now “declared war” on charter schools, as Robert Maranto, editor of the Journal of School Choice, wrote at National Review Monday.
The Biden education department is now on a path to sabotage the federal grant program that funds charter schools, public schools that are privately managed, with its proposal of new rules that appear to actually deter applicants from seeking grants.Read More
Senior Education Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) Kerry McDonald told The Star News Network the time is ripe in America for greater innovation and entrepreneurship in providing new education models for parents exiting the government school system.
Many parents got an up-close look at what their children are learning in public schools for the first time during the pandemic school closures and subsequent remote learning, leading them to consider education alternatives.Read More
In an interview with The Star News Network, nationally known school choice advocate Corey DeAngelis said teachers’ unions would be incentivized to push for more student-focused policies in public schools if school funding followed the child and more states adopted school choice programs.
DeAngelis, the national director of research at the American Federation for Children, is also an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and a senior fellow at the Reason Foundation.Read More
At its founding, American K-12 public education was meant to prepare young people to be active participants in our democratic republic. That should still be its highest purpose, especially when it comes to teaching civics.
Historically, public schools held fast to the principle that effective education must be non-partisan. Knowing they had great power to influence young minds, teachers used to be careful to choose content and pedagogies that restricted their ability to impose their personal political views on schoolchildren.
Today, maintaining non-partisanship is more important than ever in classrooms. Sadly, it’s increasingly dishonored. Civics has become a hot-button issue of late, particularly after remote learning allowed more parents to see what their children were actually being taught. Many were not happy with what they saw, and the debate over civics education is symptomatic of the larger divide that has become such a looming threat to American society.Read More
The Texas Lieutenant Governor has stated his priority to eliminate tenure in an attempt to stop Critical Race Theory (CRT) from “poisoning the minds of the next generation.”
During a Feb. 18 press conference, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick argued that academia has been infiltrated by “tenured, leftist professors” and called for additional oversight methods to crack down on the controversial curriculum.
Patrick defined CRT as “an offshoot of critical legal studies, which is an offshoot of a socialist program (which says) that everything that happened in life is based on racism.”Read More
The American K-12 education system has been failing too many students for too long. And the problem has only gotten worse amid pandemic-era school closures and remote learning.
Increasingly, parents are venting their frustration at local government bureaucracies and teachers’ unions that they believe have too often failed to put the interests of kids first — and some are voting with their feet.
Throughout Covid-19, traditional public school enrollment has dropped by 3.3% (1.45 million students) while charter school enrollment has increased by 7.1% year over year (237,000 students). Families are increasingly taking advantage of other non-traditional schooling options as well: according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the rate of homeschooling nationwide increased by 5.6 percentage points between April and October 2020.Read More
Over 70% of Americans support funding students’ education rather than public education systems, according to a new poll conducted by RealClear Opinion Research.
Among a majority of respondents, 72% support school choice, according to a poll conducted by RealClear Opinion Research, which surveyed over 2,000 registered voters from Feb. 5 – 9, 2022.Read More
As school districts start dropping the mask mandates, removing pornographic books from their libraries, and explicitly prohibiting critical race theory, it’s clear that the parent protests are working. School boards, even in progressive bastions like San Francisco, are currently being cleaned out and replaced by more pro-parent members. Moreover, politicians like the governor of Oklahoma are openly instituting a school choice model that would allow for different schooling models and have education dollars follow the student, not automatically go to the school.
Naturally, these developments invite more pushback (sometimes literally so) from those who believe they’re supporting public education. It was fine in the past to let various kooky parents carry on about the evils of teaching Harry Potter or sex ed; school boards and district leaders could simply yawn and carry on as before. However, now that it actually threatens their authority and influence, they can no longer ignore parents’ concerns..
In general, opponents of protesting parents make the same points over and over. They deny that public schools have problems, play semantic games with critical race theory (“it’s just an abstract legal theory taught in law school,” etc.), and accuse angry parents of being misguided racists. In their view, parents who demand a more wholesome and academic experience for their children are actually demanding an exclusively white and privileged experience. And for good measure, they will add an anecdote about a heroic public school teacher changing lives, proving beyond any doubt that public schools are still doing noble work and are essential for a healthy, diverse society.Read More
No, this is not another Qanon or Pizzagate conspiracy theory. It’s a sober recitation of the facts and incidents that can support no other conclusion.
Let’s start with one important stage-setting fact: According to OpenSecrets.org two organizations account for practically all of the contributions made by teachers unions: The National Education Association (about $20 million in 2016) and the American Federation of Teachers (almost $12 million). Both groups — which compete for members, but also collaborate with each other through the NEA-AFT Partnership — are consistently among the organizations that contribute the most money to candidates and political groups. From 2004 to 2016, their donations grew from $4.3 million to more than $32 million — an all-time high.
Even more than most labor unions, they have little use for Republicans, giving Democrats at least 94 percent of the funds they contributed to candidates and parties since as far back as 1990, where the Open Secrets’ data begins. Go here for a detailed breakdown of teachers union political giving.Read More
Of late, Fox News has been hosting a series called “The MisEducation of America” featuring gatherings of critical race theory’s critics—such as Carol Swain of Vanderbilt University—focusing on the danger of teaching racially divisive versions of American history. According to Swain, a black professor of political science at Vanderbilt, forcing kids to do things like play games called “privilege bingo” are “a prime example of how CRT, has seeped down to K-12 education, and it disturbs students.” Further: “All of these critical theories with Marxist roots are destroying American education, and parents have to save their children. But they also have to work to save other people’s children.”
Although the media and our universities may choose to ignore Swain’s complaint, she is actually understating the problem she and “MisEducation” host Pete Hegseth are featuring. I’m not sure I see “the Marxist roots” of the crusade against white people and their history in quite the same way Swain and Hegseth see it. We are indeed witnessing class warfare but not of the kind that Marx foresaw. It is a war being waged by white elites against the “basket of deplorables,” the predominantly white, working-class, and small-town Americans whom these elites hate and want to divest of human dignity. Similar conflicts are going on simultaneously in other Western countries, featuring equivalent social conflict.
In none of these cases do we find Marx’s appeals to the proletariat to rise up against those who control the means of production. In fact, we are witnessing exactly the opposite. An alliance of corporate capitalists, feminists, the LGBT lobby, and black race hustlers are directing their fire on the working class, which seems to be the least affected by the hegemonic ideology of wokeness. If anything, we are now looking at what Pedro Gonzalez has characterized as “the counterrevolution of the ruling class.” If Marxist theory, which supposedly is “seeping in” has any application, it would be as an analysis of how our elites are suppressing those they are stepping on and trying through increasingly vicious hate speech to isolate.Read More
If criticism of two Republican members of the Missouri House of Representatives is any indication, a bill to ban critical race theory (CRT) will face challenges.
More than a thousand people filed digital testimony forms on the bill and the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee’s hearing lasted more than four hours.
State Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon and a candidate for the term-limited Senate seat of Bob Onder, R-St. Charles, testified on HB1474 on Tuesday. State Rep. Doug Richey, R-Excelsior Springs, joined Schroer as they teamed to combine the banning of critical race theory with Richey’s “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” HB1995.Read More
The North Carolina State Superintendent walked back plans to implement a statewide curriculum that would teach disabled preschoolers to “deconstruct whiteness,” according to a report from Education First Alliance (EFA).
Catherine Truitt, North Carolina’s superintendent of public instruction, said she has not “will not sign” a contract proposal that would teach disabled preschoolers “we are all products of a racialized society” and that “Whiteness affects everything … inside and outside the classroom.”
“Instead, I will create a new contract proposal that has strict guardrails and new accountability measures to ensure the true needs of our youngest and most vulnerable learners are met,” she said. “As long as I am Superintendent, our pre-K classrooms will remain places of play and learning.”Read More
As school districts across the U.S. start 2022 in remote-learning settings or are considering doing so because of a rise in COVID-19 cases, parents now have more options as 22 states expanded or created school choice initiatives in 2021.
That’s a silver lining, advocates say, as parents grow more frustrated by ever-changing mandates, failed virtual learning outcomes and conflicting views with school boards over a range of issues.Read More
There is a lot to be frustrated about as 2021 concludes. Some places are back in lockdown over rising coronavirus cases, while others are re-imposing previous restrictions and introducing new ones—including my city.
But at this joyful time of the year, I choose to be optimistic and focus on all the good things happening right now, particularly in the world of education.Read More