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U.S. Dept. of Ed Grant Priorities Push School Choice Plus STEM

The Journal – Dian Schaffhauser

“The Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education is taking public comments on her proposed priorities for $700 million in discretionary grants the agency will issue annually in the coming years. Although many of the priorities focus on Betsy DeVos’ flagship interest, school choice, the promotion of STEM education — and particularly computer science — also makes an appearance in the list. The availability of these grants allows DeVos to show her vision for American education, just as former Secretary Arne Duncan did in 2014. Once they’re finalized, they’ll replace his list.”(more)

Private School Choice Increases College Enrollment in Florida. Could It Work Nationally?

Education Next – Matthew M. Chingos and Daniel Kuehn

“The Trump administration has championed private school choice, but critics have pushed back, bolstering their arguments with evidence that such programs can lower student test scores. Our new report on a Florida private school choice program complicates this policy debate. Low-income students who used public dollars to attend private schools through the Florida Tax Credit (FTC) scholarship program enrolled in college at higher rates than their public school counterparts, according to our new study of more than 10,000 FTC participants. The FTC program, which is essentially a voucher program funded by business tax credits, is the largest private school choice program in the country and has been held up as a national model by advocates and policymakers.”(more)

Secret Finding from PDK Poll: Support for Vouchers is Rising

Education Next – Paul E. Peterson

“The just released PDK survey of U. S. adults reveals an upward shift in public support for vouchers of 10 percentage points over the past four years, with 8 of those percentage points gained since 2015. Meanwhile, voucher opposition fell by 18 percentage points over this same four-year time period. Although this finding is not reported by PDK in this year’s analysis of its findings, it emerges sharp and clear if one takes a close look at earlier PDK poll results.”(more)

The 2017 EdNext Poll on School Reform

Education Next – Martin R. West, Michael B. Henderson, Paul E. Peterson and Samuel Barrows

“There’s no denying political climate change. The past 18 months have seen an enormous swing in the Washington power balance, a shift that has heightened the polarization that has characterized our public life for more than a decade now. How has this divisive political climate influenced public opinion on education policy and reform? And how much, if at all, has the new president swayed the public’s views? The 2017 Education Next survey, conducted in May and June of this year, offers us an opportunity to explore these questions and many more.”(more)

Branding is key to standing out in a school choice environment

Education Dive – Pat Donachie

“Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has made it clear that school choice will become a reality for many parents, which means that they will have to choose from a greater number of options in determining where to enroll their child. Schools have responded in kind by adapting their branding, communications and outreach approaches to encourage parents to enroll their kids there. This reality begs the question: are schools that aren’t upgrading their branding are going to get left behind? .”(more)

‘It Gave Us a Choice When We Didn’t Have One’: Private School Choice Participants Flood Capitol to Tell Their Stories

The 74 Million – Carolyn Phenicie

“Private school choice was among the only education pledges made by President Donald Trump on the campaign trail and has been a decades-long focus of advocacy by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Congress reauthorized the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship, the only federally funded program, earlier this year, but like other Trump administration priorities, the odds of any kind of national private school choice program being enacted are looking increasingly slim. The administration proposed a $250 million voucher program in this year’s budget; House Republicans, the caucus that should be most open to the idea, didn’t include the program in its 2018 Education Department spending bill.”(more)