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Education politics

Vance Aloupis

podcastED: Rep. Vance Aloupis on early childhood education, school choice

Rep. Vance Aloupis, R-Miami, narrowly beat his Democratic opponent in 2018 to represent Florida’s 115th District, a seat held by former Education Committee Chair Michael Bileca. One of many freshman members serving this year on House education committees, Aloupis wants to become a legislative leader in early childhood development. The Children’s Movement of Florida’s chief executive officer is carrying HB 1027 this session, which requires the state’s Office of Early Learning to develop training and course standards for school readiness program providers. “We have done a disservice to our public education system, and more importantly our children, by not professionalizing early...

Accountability’s rocky legal road, Part 1

Editor’s note: March 2 marked the 20th anniversary of the legislative session in which Florida Gov. Jeb Bush launched a number of K-12 reforms that transformed education throughout the state. With the start of the 2019 legislative session earlier this month, redefinED embarked upon a series of articles that examine aspects of Bush’s K-12 education revolution and how it continues to reverberate. Today’s piece is the first of two retrospectives that chronicle the plan’s legislative roller coaster ride. Part II is available here.     OPPORTUNITY AWAITS In January 1999, Gov. Jeb Bush’s recently announced “A+ Plan” was generating bipartisan praise. Democrats, school...
family empowerment scholarship

Florida Legislature: Week 4 wrap-up

The House Committee on Appropriations moved forward with a bill that would end the waiting list for families seeking the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship. Here’s a brief recap of that bill and the week’s other education choice news from Tallahassee. Despite objections from Democratic lawmakers who deemed it unconstitutional, HB 7075 passed in a party-line vote, 16-9. The legislation would create a state-funded program to eliminate a waiting list for families who applied for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship for lower-income families. (The program is administered by non-profits such as Step Up For Students, which hosts this blog.) The “Family Empowerment...

How public education can learn from the health care reform debate

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis caused an uproar recently when he commented that all publicly-funded K-12 education services are part of public education. He was speaking about a proposed new education voucher program that, if it becomes law, will give low-income and working-class families public funds to help pay for private school tuition and fees. The assertion that education vouchers are part of a devious scheme to dismantle and privatize public education is undermined if publicly-funded vouchers are part of the public education system. Hence, the strong political backlash from education choice opponents to the governor’s statement. My hometown paper, the...
school choice

House bill to create Family Empowerment Scholarship moves ahead

TALLAHASSEE – A bill that would eliminate a waiting list for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship for low-income students – but also slash the value of the vouchers – passed in a party-line vote Wednesday by the House Committee on Appropriations. The bill, HB 7075, would create the Family Empowerment Scholarship, which would accommodate about 28,000 students in 2019-20. That includes some 13,000 students currently on a waiting list for the tax credit scholarship. Unlike the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, which is funded with private donations from corporations that receive tax credits, the new program would be funded with tax dollars...

The right of choice for black students

by Keith Jacobs The United States has a dismal history of providing inferior education for black students. Landmark Supreme Court cases such as Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 sought to eradicate this incongruency in educational access. Despite these efforts, many schools continued to systematically discriminate against students of color. This institutional racism persists today. It has transformed from denial of access based on race to denial of access based on ZIP code. In both cases, black students are forced to be products of their environment -- which often lacks the tools to provide them a quality education. Opponents of educational...
family empowerment scholarship

Florida legislature: Week 3 wrap-up

Both chambers of the Legislature considered several bills related to education choice during the third week of the session. Here’s a brief recap of the week’s news from Tallahassee. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education voted to advance a bill that would eliminate the waiting list for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship for lower-income families. The bill, SB7070, creates the Family Empowerment Scholarship program, which would allow about 15,000 low-income students to attend the private school of their choice in 2019-20. Nearly 13,000 students are on the waiting list for Florida Tax Credit scholarships. Senate education leaders released a plan to increase education spending...
school choice

Commentary: Of rights and powers: state and parent

Law uses the term “right(s)” in various ways; in its most common version, the concept includes a sub-species called “power(s),” a word that I will deploy here: We say that a scoutmaster has the right and power to expel (or not) the miscreant young Henry from Troop 40; my drill sergeant had the power to make me do push-ups. In this brief essay I will suggest that, in dealing with children and families, it could be useful to understand the parents’ authority in this way as a subcategory of right, one quite distinct from what I will call a...