Florida’s newest private school choice program is no ordinary voucher, a new report finds.
The analysis, released this week by EdChoice, found that in the first two years of the Gardiner Scholarship program, roughly four out of ten parents used the scholarships to pay for multiple educational services — not just private school tuition.
The scholarship program is available to children with specific special needs. It has grown to become the nation’s largest education savings account. The accounts allow parents to control the funding the state would spend to educate their child. They can spend the money on a range of education-related expenses, from textbooks and school tuition to tutoring and therapy.
Step Up For Students, which publishes this blog, helps administer the scholarships and provided the data used in the report.
Educational choice advocates have embraced ESAs because they’re more versatile than conventional vouchers. Lindsey Burke, director of the Center for Education Policy at the Heritage Foundation and one of the report’s authors, said data suggests parents appreciate that flexibility.