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Newswire August 15th, 2017

In a statement released earlier today, a comparison was made between Education Next polling data from 2015 and 2016, which showed public support for charter schools remaining consistent from one year to the next, and questioned news reports to the contrary. The data covered in media reports, however, compared 2016 polling information to 2017data and were correct.  We apologize for the misinterpretation and any confusion that it caused.  We’ll be back to you with more on this later.  We now return you to our regular programming.

ILLI-NOISE. In case you haven’t been following the up-and-down, give-and-take, who-hit-John-back-and-forth that is the debate over school funding in the Land of Lincoln, suffice it to say that the Governor and legislature have been at loggerheads over the issue for quite some time. (The State Senate just overrode the Gov’s veto.) Here’s a thought that would make a positive change: a tax-credit scholarship program that would provide a state tax credit to individuals or businesses for donations made to authorized organizations. Those organizations then would use the money to fund tuition scholarships for eligible students to attend a school of their choice.

OLD-FANGLED. We tend to think of a lot of opportunities for alternatives to traditional schooling to be forever “new,” and it tends to be a surprise when something like a virtual school celebrates a milestone for longevity. So join us in congratulating Florida Virtual School (FLVS) on its 20th anniversary (the appropriate gift is china). Launched in 1997, the school has 1,400 certified instructors and offers a catalog of 150 courses to students from high school down through elementary. Congratulate, too, one of the school’s original instructors, Jennifer Whiting, who started as a chemistry teacher and now serves as FLVS’ chief technology innovation officer.

NEW-FANGLED. But lest we become blasé about all the cool stuff that keeps popping up in the ed-tech world, we give you “Freshman Year for Free,” an online offering of 40 courses from New York City’s Modern States Education Alliance. The program is designed as an alternative approach for students to earn traditional academic credits through the Advanced Placement or College Level Examination Program exams, administered by the College Board. But, in a nicely egalitarian touch, anyone who wants to use the courses can. “If you have a mobile phone, you can get a full year of credit,” says Steven B. Klinsky, who calls the effort “a private-sector approach to solving a social problem.”