School choice, civil rights & redefined was there!
Sixty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ended state-sponsored segregation in public schools and opened many doors of opportunity. Expanding school choice can open some more.
In South Florida last week, Step Up For Students and its partners at the Florida Alliance for Choices in Education sponsored a celebrity panel discussion on just that subject. The panel included Dr. Howard Fuller, a national legend in the parental choice movement, and T. Willard Fair, another longtime choice champion who heads the Urban League of Greater Miami.
Our blog, redefinED, was there to cover it. We've included a couple of links related to that event in this newsletter. And as always, we've included links to a few other recent posts too. Nobody but nobody covers what's going on with school choice in Florida better than redefinED. One day, the newspapers and TV news will cover these issues, too, but until then, redefinED is the go-to source.
Next month, the Florida Legislature begins its annual session, and school choice issues promise to be a hot topic. Check the blog for the latest! Also check out the facebook page and follow @redefinEDonline on Twitter.
- Doug Tuthill, president, Step Up For Students
Florida Catholic schools show enrollment growth, again
Again defying national trends, Catholic schools in Florida showed enrollment growth for the second year in a row this year.
Enrollment in PreK-12 reached 84,750, up from 84,258 last year, a modest increase of 0.6 percent, according to data released Monday by the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops. Enrollment was at 81,632 two years ago.
By contrast, Catholic school enrollment nationally, on the decline for decades, fell another 1.5 percent last year. Publicly funded, private school choice programs in Florida are a big reason for the difference. Read more here.
Thanks to school choice scholarship, he's a 21st Century learner
Cristina Valdes noticed her fourth-grade son's interest in learning start to fade and his behavior slip during the 2011-12 school year at their local elementary school and immediately took it as a red flag.
Instead of concentrating on his teacher's lessons, Jordan Garcia asked to take unnecessary bathroom breaks, roamed the halls and fooled around seeking attention, his mother said.
"Jordan's conduct at school had reached a crossroads and I saw him pulling further away from his interest in school and more towards acting up and being the class clown," said Cristina. "I felt that if I did not intervene now, I may lose him by the time he started middle school."
Fortunately, she secured a tax credit scholarship for Jordan, and in a new school, everything changed. Read more here.
Sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education, parental school choice is key
The historic 1954 Brown v Board of Education decision was important not only for its impact on education. It was also an important element of the larger struggle to end the legal discrimination against Black people within the United States. Today, we have a different problem; children of low-income and working-class Black families are trapped in schools that are not providing them with a quality education.
Integration is not the lever of power that is needed at this point in history.
We should heed the words of Judge Robert Carter, who, as a young attorney had the responsibility to put the social science literature before the Supreme Court in the Brown case. He said, "Integrated education must not be lost as the ultimate solution. That would be a disaster in my judgment. Read more here.
School choice, civil rights and a little discord over linking the two
It's an increasingly common refrain: school choice is an extension of the civil rights movement. But two of the choice movement's elder statesmen took exception to that description at a National School Choice Week event Thursday night.
The civil rights movement was broader than the battle for school choice, and every generation ought to define its own movements, said Howard Fuller, a legend in the choice movement and chair of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. Also, attempting to link the two can create friction and arouse suspicions when it's used by choice supporters who may not see eye-to-eye on other issues important to civil rights veterans and their supporters.
"Just even using that terminology gets us into arguments that we don't need to be in," Fuller said.
T. Willard Fair, a former chairman of the Florida Board of Education, raised another objection: When it comes to school choice, too many black leaders are not on the same page. "During the civil rights movement, no black elected official dared to stand up and be against this," said Fair, who co-founded Florida's first charter school. "If he or she did, we would get them." Read more here.
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VCA Honors Its
May 26, 2017 will go down in the history books as the day VCA graduated its very first senior class. Representing the Class of 2017, as the first and only graduating senior, is Kenneth Ray Yates. The ceremony was held at the school Friday morning, and attended by Kenny’s family, friends, along with the students and faculty of VCA. While Kenny would have preferred to avoid the spotlight, being the school’s only graduating senior made that nearly impossible. The school is very excited about reaching this milestone and looks forward to more graduating classes.