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Education legislation

podcastED: New Florida Board of Education chair Andy Tuck on school choice, teacher pay and Florida’s progress

SEBRING, Fla. – When it comes to public education, Andy Tuck, the new chair of the Florida Board of Education, is an all-of-the-above kind of guy. His wife is a district schoolteacher. His children attended district schools. They had the option of enrolling in an International Baccalaureate program he approved as a district school board member. But Tuck doesn’t think it makes sense to limit educational choice to district options. Charters. Vouchers. Education savings accounts. Giving more parents more access to all of them, he said, is “critical.” “I felt like my children got a first-class education at Sebring High...

Court showdown over religious freedom looms

After nearly two decades of debate, the U.S. Supreme Court will finally get a chance to determine how state courts may interpret “Blaine Amendments.” The court in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002) previously had ruled state school voucher programs do not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But whether state constitution “Blaine Amendments” could be used to deny voucher programs remained unresolved. “Blaine Amendments” are 19th century vestiges of America’s anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant past. Today, 37 states have amendments to their constitutions preventing religious institutions from indirectly, or in some places like Florida, directly receiving state...
school choice

DeSantis budget cuts to impact Florida charter schools

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has vetoed just over $1.35 million in funding that would have gone to several charter schools around the state, including Academy at the Farm in Pasco County and Somerset Academy in Jefferson County. The cuts were part of the $131 million in appropriations the governor excised from the $90.9 billion budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year, which begins Monday. The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment. The veto disappointed Ray Polk, principal at Academy at the Farm. The K-8 school had requested $650,000 to fund infrastructure improvements and plans to expand to begin...

Accountability comes in different forms

Editor’s note: One of the most pervasive of all education choice myths is the one that claims schools that accept scholarships are not held accountable to the public for their success -- or failure. We looked at the "no accountability” myth last week but take a deeper dive in today's post. You can see more myth busting here, or by clicking the link at the top right-hand corner of this page.     Many cultures around the world have a common trope: a mythical creature parents invoke to scare their children into behaving. It goes by different names – the bogeyman, Baba Yaga,...

Learning everywhere ups chances for learning somewhere

Earlier this month, the New Hampshire State Board of Education adopted rules for a program that could eventually allow community organizations to offer programs that grant high school course credit. As you might imagine, no small amount of controversy ensued. The state’s public school advocacy organizations oppose the initiative, while the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association, the Boys and Girls Club, FIRST Robotics, New England College, the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center and the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire support it. This initiative is not without precedent. New Hampshire policymakers in 2018 created a pathway called “Learn Everywhere” that would allow...

Jeb Bush’s A+ Plan anniversary: 20 years to the day

“I think we’re in for a renaissance in public education.” With these words, Gov. Jeb Bush signed into law on June 21, 1999, a bill that set in motion his vision for the future of education in Florida. The A+ Plan, which had been Bush’s top campaign promise when he ran for governor, aimed to toughen standards for teachers, students and schools. It called for the state to assign letter grades to all schools, end social promotion and institute statewide testing in grades 3 through 10. The plan’s philosophical underpinnings ran deep. According to testimony Bush delivered before the U.S. House of...

Appeals court weighs major education law

By Jim Saunders and Tom Urban, The News Service of Florida TALLAHASSEE - Appearing skeptical of arguments made by school boards, an appeals court Tuesday waded into a challenge to the constitutionality of a 2017 state law that seeks to boost charter schools. Numerous school boards across the state filed two lawsuits contending that the law infringed on their rights to operate school districts. One of the major issues in the case is the law’s authorization of “schools of hope,” a new type of charter school aimed at areas where children have been served by traditional public schools that are low...
Power of Choice sign

‘Paramount duty’ never intended as weapon against school choice

Editor's note: Misinformation abounds across the education choice landscape, adding confusion to an already complex issue. The redefinED team is dedicated to shining a light and providing the facts. Today's post debunks a long-standing misconception: The state constitution says free public schools are the sole means for the state to provide education in Florida. You can see more myth busting here, or click the link at the top right-hand corner of this page.     The primary reason the Florida Opportunity Scholarship program was struck down 13 years ago was noticeably absent from recent news coverage of a potential lawsuit...