Can traditional public schools win in an age of school choice? Yes—and here’s how

Traditional public schools must ensure continued success in order to compete for students against charter schools, online learning, and other forms of education. Dissatisfied students, parents, and even staff leave schools that need to work harder than ever to regain the confidence of staff and community. But what practices can public schools implement to increase retention and improve student outcomes?

In “The Public School in an Age of Choice: How to Compete for the Win,” Kevin Baird, chairman of the board at the nonprofit Center for College & Career Readiness, presented the issues traditional public schools currently face in retaining students and staff, as well as the solutions that can lead to higher retention and student success.

Challenge: Slow Improvements…Read More

As expected, Trump’s education budget prioritizes school choice

President Donald Trump on May 23 released details of his proposed FY 2018 education budget, which adamantly supports school choice and slashes funding for other major education programs and initiatives.

Under the education budget proposal, the Department of Education would see a 13 percent decrease in funding, down $9 billion to $59 billion in discretionary funding.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos called the budget a “historic investment in America’s students,” noting that Trump is focused on giving more power back to states.…Read More

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DeVos confirmation hearing elicits intense reactions

Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary, emerged from her confirmation hearings with Republicans praising her commitment to school choice and with Democrats voicing concerns over what they see as a lack of experience to ensure equity for students of all backgrounds and abilities.

During the hearings, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) did not back down as he repeatedly asked DeVos to address yes-or-no questions about a variety of education issues, including the Individuals with Disabilities Act–a key federal law that allocates federal funding to schools to ensure the needs of students with disabilities are met.

Kaine and DeVos sparred over the matter of whether all schools–public, public charter or private–should be required to meet IDEA requirements if they receive federal funding.…Read More

Here’s what you need to know about Betsy DeVos, likely Education Secretary

With his nomination of billionaire Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education, President-elect Donald Trump seems to be making good on his campaign promise to promote school choice.

Trump has proposed a $20 million fund to support school choice for students, namely through charters and vouchers. DeVos, who has no professional experience working in schools, is a vocal proponent of school choice and vouchers. Currently, she chairs the American Federation for Children, which promotes school vouchers and scholarship tax credit programs.

[Read the higher education version of this story here.]…Read More

City plans to end guarantee for local high school slots

In a push that is alarming parents, the Bloomberg administration plans to stop guaranteeing eighth-graders a spot in the city’s remaining neighborhood high schools, the New York Daily News reports. “It’s ridiculous to think that children are not able to go to their zoned school automatically,” said Kim Alvarez, who wants the option of sending her daughter Amber, 11, to the local school, Long Island City High School. “The thought that she could end up in Brooklyn or Staten Island or wherever they put her is a little alarming.” The city still guarantees students a spot in high school — just not nearby. The admissions change, which could affect five schools by next year, will allow “zoned” high schools to offer priority rather than a guarantee to local kids…

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