Charters & Choice News Roundup: Home Schooling in Silicon Valley

By Arianna Prothero — February 06, 2015 2 min read
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Where is the best place for students with disabilities—in public schools or private schools of their choice? And are Silicon Valley techies driving the next wave of home schooling? Those stories and more are featured in this week’s Charters & Choice news roundup.

But first, the issue of “backfilling” became a hot topic this week after an op-ed on the topic appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Backfilling, turns out, is when a school fills seats that are vacated mid-year, but charter schools in many states are not required to do this. Leaving seats empty keeps more students on waitlists and creates an “illusion” of academic success, among other issues, write Princess Lyles and Dan Clark.

But for some, requiring charters to backfill would create a backdoor to stripping autonomy from the independent schools, as Michael Petrilli of the Fordham Foundation writes in this rebuttal piece.

The $1 million question... Should state money go to students with disabilities to choose a private school or toward shoring up special education in the public sector? The Hechinger Report dives in:

Since 1997, schools in Mississippi have only been fully funded twice, which means that they usually don't have money to buy supplies like science laboratory equipment, or upgrade old facilities. Teachers miss out on professional development, [said Nancy Loome, executive director of The Parents' Campaign] and may not have the skills necessary to teach disabled students. 'There are all kinds of ways that a child with special needs could be helped if their schools were given the resources they're supposed to have.' "

A marketplace is more than choices... The American Enterprise Institute’s Andrew Kelly details the other steps necessary to create an actual education marketplace:

Reformers have focused so intently on securing the power to choose schools that they've failed to ensure that other prerequisites for meaningful reform are in place," writes Kelly in Forbes. "First, parents must have a supply of good options to choose from. Second, they must be able to learn enough about school quality to find the option that best fits their needs."

You can read more about this issue in a recent story I wrote for Education Week here.

Home schooling and hacks... this education option is becoming more popular with the techie types, according to this piece in Wired.

And now for the kicker... A few weeks ago, my kicker story was about Kylie Jenner (of Kardashian ‘fame’) allegedly dropping out of her home school program.

Well if you thought a story about one “celebrity” home schooling was clickbait, here’s a whole slide show of beautiful famous people who home school their children. You’re welcome.

Have an idea for next week’s Charters & Choice news roundup? Tweet it to me @ChartersNChoice or leave it in the comments section below.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.