Roundup of This Week's School Choice News
I'm back after a brief summer hiatus with a rundown of charter school and school choice-related stories from the past week.
• In Washington state, a coalition of groups—including the state teachers' union—have filed a lawsuit to repeal a measure that established charter schools in the state, which voters approved last November. They say that the law is unconstitutional and prevents the state from adequately funding public schools.
• Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, an advocate of school vouchers, pushed to tie expansion of the voucher program to the performance of students in those schools, according to the Associated Press. The state senate education committee is currently working on an accountability bill for schools participating in the voucher program, which lawmakers hopes will be sent to the governor by the end of the year.
• On the heels of the passage of new charter school law in that state, charter advocates in Mississippi have now formed the Mississippi Charter School Association, reports the Associated Press. The organization is being founded by the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, Mississippi First, the Black Alliance for Educational Options, and Better Education for Mississippi, all of which participated in supporting the passage of the charter school law during the 2012 legislative session. Although the state did have a charter school law on the books previously, it only allowed conversion charters and none currently operate in the state. The new law allows the creation of a statewide charter school authorizer board to approve up to 15 charter schools annually, greatly expanding the reach of charters in the state.
• The Trib Live, the website for Pittsburgh's Tribune-Review, took an in-depth look at charter schools in Pennsylvania based on the latest CREDO study, finding that across the state, student performance at charters lags behind that of their district peers. But even within the state, there is great variation between the performance of different charters, researchers say.