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Charters & Choice News Roundup: Former NBA Star Makes Pitch for Vouchers

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This week in the Charters & Choice news roundup: While former NBA star Allan Houston pushes for vouchers in Tennessee, Arizona and Florida pilot a radical new kind of choice program. But first, if you thought libraries were a staple in school buildings, think again.

Books smarts... turns out, charter schools are far less likely than district schools to have libraries, reports Michael Alison Chandler of the Washington Post.

The public-private debate... in an op-ed in The Columbus Dispatch, Dave Yost, Ohio's state auditor, tackles the oversight gray area created by entities, such as charter schools, that have one foot in the public sector, and the other in the private sector:

"The details are matters for serious debate. One thing seems utterly clear to me, though: the oval peg of accountability for these hybrid organizations fits neither the square nor the round peg holes we already have."

Yost also lays out four characteristics required for workable reform. Ohio's charter schools have been under scrutiny lately, which has focused a lot of debate on accountability. You can read the op-ed here

The next frontier... Arizona and Florida are piloting a new kind of school choice program that puts parents in control of spending their child's state education dollars, as I wrote in a recent story:

"Those two states are pioneering what are called education savings account programs, or ESAs. For some advocates, these programs represent the fullest realization of the school choice movement's ideals: near total parental control and customization, all while lowering the cost of educating students by encouraging parents to save money. Lawmakers in other states, such as Mississippi and Oklahoma, have been introducing measures this year to set up similar programs."

And from the "celebrities and school choice" file: former NBA basketball star Allan Houston made a full-court press (legislatively) for school vouchers in Nashville this week. 

Have a story you'd like to recommend for next week's school choice news roundup? Leave it in the comments section below or tweet it to @ChartersNChoice.

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