Wednesday, April 26, 2006


K-12 Scholarships to Attend Private Schools

In Milwaukee, low-income parents can opt their children into the private school of their choice, paid for with tax funds in the form of a tuition “voucher” valued at up to $5,943. That’s cheaper than the same year of schooling in a public facility. But obviously, poor parents perceive the “cheaper” schooling as better for their kids: more than 15,000 children in 118 private schools are taking advantage of the voucher program.

A similar school choice program is operating in Cleveland, where 5,675 children attending 45 private schools have either 75% or 90% of their tuition paid for with tax funds.

Newer programs in Washington, D.C., and the State of Florida have drawn 1,025 students and 690 students, respectively. And there are specialty voucher programs operating in Florida and Utah for students with special needs to attend the schools of their choice.

Read more on:


100% Tax Credits For Donating to Private Scholarship Funds for Poor Kids

Partial tax credits are already available for donations to private schools and dedicated programs such as the Children’s Scholarship Fund.

But now individuals and corporations can earn a 100% tax credit by donating money to private scholarship funds that help send low-income children to private schools. Give $500, get $500 knocked off your tax bite. It saves money that otherwise would have to be spent in public education, since the child is now attending a private school instead.

Dollar-for-dollar tax credits are available for donations of up to $500 to Arizona’s Tuition Tax Credit Program, which helped 21,160 children attend private schools, as well as Florida’s Step Up for Students Scholarship Program (for corporations), which provided tuition assistance for 15,000 youngsters, and Pennsylvania’s Education Improvement Tax Credit Program, aiding 25,000.

Pennsylvania also has a tax credit for donations helping poor parents send 3- and 4-year-old children to good preschools, and Florida offers tax credits for financial aid to low-income parents who want their children to attend private kindergartens.

For more, see:


Inner-City College Prep in New York

The College Board is opening a specialized secondary school for inner-city and minority students in Buffalo, N.Y. The focus will be on preparing kids in Grades 6 - 12 to go to college. With financial help from two foundations, the College Board already operates four College Board Schools in New York City, with plans for three more besides the Buffalo one.

To learn more, see p. 8 of the April issue of Urban Educator, the newsletter of the Council of Great City Schools,

Pittsburgh to Save $14.7 Million by School Closings

The Pittsburgh, Pa., public schools expect to save $14.7 million a year in operating costs by “right-sizing” its district schools in response to thousands of empty seats in inner-city classrooms. The district will close 22 schools and create one new one in the reorganization.

More information is available on the identical page as the Buffalo, N.Y., story, p. 8 of the April issue of Urban Educator, the newsletter of the Council of Great City Schools,

Two-Year English Language Learner Grants in Arizona

There’s a move afoot in Arizona, faced with 150,000 English language learners (ELL) in public schools, to distribute two-year grants to cover the cost of making a child proficient in English at the school of his or her choice. Some might “spend” their grant in their own public school, while others may place it with a specialized service or short-term school such as
www.berlitz.us if they think they’ll do a better job. The thought is that opening up the teaching of English to competition would help drive the cost down and the quality up.

Help For Immigrant Students in St. Paul

According to the Council of Great City Schools, St. Paul, Minn., is doing the best job in the nation in bringing non-English speaking kids up to speed academically. They have scrapped the traditional “English as a Second Language” program, and reward kids who read in English with amusement park tickets, among other innovative approaches. Test scores are now approximating the statewide average. See:


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