Marie Echevarria, an Orlando district high school teacher, was one of several Florida parents who thanked lawmakers for their expansion of education choice during the recent legislative session.

In a May 24 Forbes piece titled, “Oh, what a year for school choice,” Mike McShane, director of national research at EdChoice and a redefinED guest blogger, references legislative outcomes in Florida not once, but three times.

What’s more, Forbes chose to illustrate the piece with an Associated Press photo of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis celebrating the passage of HB 7045 at one of two schools he visited the day of the bill signing.

“It has been hard to keep up with the number of school choice programs state legislatures have created so far in 2021,” McShane writes. “As sessions across the country wrap up, it is worth pausing to underscore just how massive the wins for the educational choice movement have been this year.”

McShane points to Florida for converting one of its scholarship programs – the McKay Scholarship Program – into an education savings account program, allowing more students to have access to ESAs. He includes Florida in the list of states along with Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana and Maryland that expanded their voucher programs, allowing either broader eligibility, increasing the amount of money available for vouchers, or both.

He also names Florida, along with Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma and South Dakota, as a state that either created new tax-credit scholarship programs or expanded eligibility or funding for their existing programs.

In total, McShane writes, 13 states have created five new programs and expanded 13 existing programs, providing new opportunities that previously were financially out of reach for hundreds of thousands of families across the country.

The upshot? A majority of Americans, a super majority of parents, and increasing numbers of state legislators and governor seem to agree that education choice is a good thing – and that it’s here to stay.

You can read McShane’s full commentary here.

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Post-session education choice overview: what the new normal looks like – redefinED - Trumpism And Trump May 25, 2021 - 5:07 pm

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