In the new school year, the nation’s largest private school choice program is seeing the largest growth of its 15-year history.
This fall, there are more than 92,000 low-income and working-class children enrolled in private schools with the help of Florida’s tax credit scholarship program. That’s up nearly 17 percent from the end of last school year, when the program served 78,664 students.
Meanwhile, the number of children enrolled through in the Florida’s newest private educational choice program — Gardiner Scholarships for students with special needs — has already increased by more than 900 from the 2015-16 school year. Since applications that program are still open, it could continue to grow.
Step Up For Students, which publishes this blog and pays my salary, helps administer both the Gardiner and tax credit scholarship programs in Florida. Another nonprofit organization, the AAA Scholarship Foundation, also offers scholarships under both programs, but has not yet released its enrollment numbers for the 2016-17 school year. Last year, it provided 451 tax credit scholarships and 256 Gardiner scholarships.
Meanwhile, the McKay scholarship program, which provides vouchers to students with special needs, served more than 30,000 students last year. Numbers for the current year are not yet available, but if recent trends hold, it’s likely the total number of children participating in Florida’s three K-12 private school choice programs will climb north of 125,000. Continue Reading →