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family empowerment scholarship

Landmark education bill on path for passage this legislative session

A bill that would allow teachers and students to focus on mastery of grade-level skills rather than grades unanimously cleared the Senate Education Committee Tuesday. Filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R- St. Petersburg), SB 226 would expand an existing “competency-based” pilot program to any school district that wants to participate. The program allows students to earn credits based on mastery of content and skills regardless of how much time they spend in the classroom. A similar bill already has cleared one subcommittee in the House chamber. Pinellas, Palm Beach and Seminole County school districts, as well as the University of Florida’s P.K. Yonge Development Research School,...

Put her in charge or it’s game over, man!

The American film classic Aliens features a group of futuristic Marines who bite off more than they can chew when a distant colony they’re exploring turns out to be a lair of deadly space monsters. Private Hudson, played by the late, great Bill Paxton, melts down in a panic. Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley reminds him that a young girl they had rescued, Newt, had survived for weeks on the space station with no weapons and no training, prompting Hudson’s memorable question: “Why don’t you put her in charge?” Well, why not indeed? As the film continues, it becomes increasingly clear that...
Gardiner scholarship

Miss Ana and her mighty home school micro cluster

MIAMI – “Guys! Choo-choo formation!” At Ana Garcia’s command, a loose knot of people near the turnstiles at Zoo Miami – three adults, five kids – lined up, put their hands on the back shoulders of the person in front of them, and merged into something less locomotive than caterpillar. Sixteen feet proceeded on a motley ramble. Crocodiles awaited in the Everglades section, along with plenty of carefully guided learning. So it goes on the education frontier. Over the next few hours, Garcia, a public-school teacher turned pioneer, subtly steered her students toward goals in their personalized education plans. Project-based learning...
school choice

Gov. DeSantis tells Miami crowd he wants to end FTC waitlist

MIAMI -- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told a crowd at Greater Miami Adventist Academy on Friday that he wants to create a state-funded program that would help reduce the number of families on a waiting list to receive the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC) for lower-income families. “I’m asking the Legislature to build off the tax credit scholarship success,” the governor said. DeSantis proposed establishing an “equal opportunity scholarship” funded in the state budget to ensure that demand from lower-income and working class parents for educational choice can be met. The FTC currently serves nearly 100,000 lower-income students, making it the...
school choice

Gov. DeSantis proposes new program to end FTC wait list

ORLANDO -- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday called on the Legislature to create a new state-funded program that would reduce the number of families on a waiting list to receive the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC) for lower-income families. Speaking at Calvary City Christian Academy & Preschool, DeSantis proposed establishing an “equal opportunity scholarship” funded in the state budget to ensure that demand from lower-income and working class parents for educational choice can be met. It would provide scholarships in the same amount as the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, and the program’s enrollment would be capped at 14,000 students...

Florida Gov. DeSantis: ‘Don’t worry about the Gardiner Scholarship’

ORLANDO – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reiterated his pledge to end the waitlist for special needs children who have qualified for a state-funded scholarship at a second school visit Monday. Following a morning stop at North Florida School of Special Education in Jacksonville, DeSantis traveled to Pace Brantley School in Longwood, outside Orlando. Pace Brantley, a private school situated on a sprawling, 9-acre campus, specializes in educating children with a variety of special needs including attention deficit disorder, dyslexia and other learning disabilities. “As long as I’m governor, don’t worry about the Gardiner scholarship,” DeSantis told a group of more than 50...

Florida Gov. DeSantis vows to end Gardiner waitlist

JACKSONVILLE – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday promised to eliminate the wait list for children who have qualified for a state-funded scholarship for students with special needs. DeSantis, flanked by First Lady Casey DeSantis and Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, visited the North Florida School of Special Education where he addressed parents of students awaiting a Gardiner Scholarship, the nation’s largest education savings account program, as well as those families who have benefited from it. “In the budget just released, I’ve allocated enough money to get rid of the waitlist for the Gardiner Scholarship entirely,” DeSantis told the crowd of...

National School Choice Week: A chance to advance equality and opportunity

When The Fellowship of the Ring was released in 2001, I was in the subset of viewers who had not read J.R.R. Tolkien’s books. Yes, right, I know: Nerd demerit! It proved beneficial as a movie-going experience, as it shocked me: Wait, what? Sarumon is a bad guy?? The Gandalf vs. Saruman fight scene comes to mind when I see choice supporters who say they “support choice,” but only a particular type of choice. David Osborne’s piece in The 74 is a recent example of this genre. Osborne obviously is a sincere gentleman, but the scale of our challenges lies...