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Education politics

vouchers

The problem with education reform’s deep blue hue

In a compelling 60-second video, Frederick M. Hess, resident scholar and director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, outlines the results of a study he co-authored with Jay P. Greene, distinguished professor and head of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. The study tracked the personal political contributions of the staffs of education reform organizations. Despite years of right-wing conspiracy accusations, it turns out the party education reformers overwhelming support has been the Democrats. Greene and Hess summarized their case in the Wall Street Journal: Political homogeneity helps explain many of the setbacks the...

Inaccuracies abound in new education choice rant

The Florida Education Association and allies are gathering at an education summit Saturday in Orlando to discuss “the legislature’s attack on public schools.” “Our neighborhood schools are under attack – there’s no other way to describe it,” FEA president Fedrick Ingram said in a news release. But the only attack on Florida’s public schools is from the FEA and its friends, who consistently refuse to acknowledge the impressive gains made in public education over the last 20 years. In an effort to increase teacher pay and per-pupil spending, these critics assail school choice programs, testing and more, while claiming – almost always...
family empowerment scholarship

Standing up to tribal pressure

Last Thursday was a wonderful day for students in Florida, especially students living in undervalued neighborhoods and desperate for educational options. Gov. Ron DeSantis traveled the state promoting the belief that those children, not just those from families of means, should be in great schools. As executive director of Florida Parent Network, I manage a team of professional organizers who planned and arranged these events, and at the last one, in Miami, DeSantis signed a bill that officially created the Family Empowerment Scholarship. This scholarship will help 18,000 students get off scholarship waiting lists and into schools they couldn’t otherwise afford. It...
school choice

Will Florida editorial boards always be at war with Florida families?

‘When I was arrested, Oceania was at war with Eastasia. With Eastasia. Good. And Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, has it not?’  Winston drew in his breath. He opened his mouth to speak and then did not speak. He could not take his eyes away from the dial.  ‘The truth, please, Winston. YOUR truth. Tell me what you think you remember.’  ‘I remember that until only a week before I was arrested, we were not at war with Eastasia at all. We were in alliance with them. The war was against Eurasia. That had lasted for...

Family Empowerment Scholarship becomes law

In a historic expansion of school choice in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed into a law a bill that creates a new, state-funded voucher program. DeSantis officially signed the legislation before a passionate crowd of students, educators, lawmakers and school choice supporters at William A. Kirlew Junior Academy, a private K-8 school, in Miami Gardens. The Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES), the new state-funded program approved last month by both chambers, will eliminate a waiting list of 13,000 families seeking a Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC) for their children and expand school choice options for thousands of others. The new...
school choice

New scholarship capped historic legislative session

Florida’s 2019 legislative session rewarded supporters of school choice as the House and Senate created the Family Empowerment Scholarship and boosted funding for charter schools. The new state-funded K-12 scholarship will help get 18,000 low-income and working-class students off a waiting list for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC) for lower-income families. (The FTC scholarship is managed by non-profits such as Step Up For Students, which hosts this blog.) The 18-year-old scholarship serves 100,512 students this year and is funded by corporate contributions that receive dollar-for-dollar state tax credits. However, the rate of growth in contributions slowed this year and failed...
education savings accounts

Education choice options advance in Tennessee

Tennessee lawmakers on Wednesday approved school voucher legislation that would allow families in two counties and the state-run Achievement School District to use education savings accounts for private school tuition and other education-related expenses. The program would give participating families debit cards worth up to $7,300 in state education money each year. For the first three years, the state would provide grants to the counties to offset the money leaving local school districts with those students. The landmark legislation, which evolved from months of deliberation, received final approval after a 100-member committee resolved differences between the House and Senate versions of...
family empowerment scholarship

House passes Family Empowerment Scholarship

After a lengthy, contentious hearing that lasted parts of two days, the House of Representatives on Tuesday sent to the governor a bill creating a new state-funded K-12 scholarship for 18,000 low-income and working-class students. Senate Bill 7070, which survived 24 failed Democratic amendments on Monday, passed 76-39 with the support of all Republicans and six Democrats. It creates the Family Empowerment Scholarship, an attempt to address the unmet demand for the 18-year-old Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, which serves 100,512 students this year and is funded by corporate contributions that receive dollar-for-dollar state tax credits. The rate of contribution growth...