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Education politics

Money is not the answer

Decades of cross-sectional research shows a weak relationship between K-12 spending and academic outcomes. During the Jeb Bush era in Florida, for instance, we saw the following outcomes: For those squinting at your iPhone, that’s a very weak relationship between state spending increases and academic gains. While Florida had the smallest increase in funding, it was among states with the largest academic gains. Wyoming and New York had spending increases six times greater than Florida, but posted much smaller academic gains. Digging deeper: We’ve seen reporting recently that claims the existence of a much stronger relationship between spending and outcomes. There...

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...

Invisible gorillas aplenty in Florida education debates

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 an oft-repeated misconception: The manner in which the new Family Empowerment Scholarship is funded is unprecedented, unconstitutional, and at odds with how the state defines public education. You can see more myth busting here, or click the link at the top right-hand corner of this page.     In the famous “invisible gorilla” experiment devised by research psychologist Christopher Chabris and experimental psychologist Daniel Simons, viewers were asked to count...
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...

Private school choice in Florida: more programs than rest of American South combined

I wrote in my last column about a new presentation on education in the American South from Bellwether Education Partners, a national nonprofit focused on changing education and life outcomes for underserved children. As I noted, Bellwether Education partners tabulated the number of K-12 students participating in private choice programs by state. Florida has the largest scholarship tax credit program for low-income families, the largest voucher program for students with disabilities (the McKay Scholarship) and the nation’s largest Education Savings Account program (Gardiner Scholarships), also for children with disabilities. Have Florida students benefited from this embrace of private choice? Louisiana has...

Remember the rebels

Florida's first school choice voucher left quite the legacy, even though it didn't survive a legal challenge. One of the first Opportunity Scholarship students, Khaliah Clanton-Williams, says school choice changed her life for the better, and she's hoping it will continue to expand so it can benefit her son as well.

Sanders misses point on education reform

When Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic candidate for president, recently revealed his education plan, most of the ensuing news coverage focused on his criticism of charter schools and his call for a moratorium on their expansion. Cue the usual op-eds and pundits booing him, attacking socialism and railing against infringements on a “competitive free market.” I’m here in Florida booing the usual pundits. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a longtime Sanders supporter who was disappointed in his attacks on a movement bringing equity to public education. He’s misguided and misinformed. His opinion is baffling coming from someone who values “Medicare for All.” A...
Gardiner Scholarship

DeSantis touts funding boost for Gardiner Scholarship

JACKSONVILLE – Returning to the school where he first pledged to eliminate a waiting list for the Gardiner Scholarship, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday celebrated a boost in state funding for the program for students with special needs. DeSantis spoke at North Florida School of Special Education, where in February he requested additional dollars in the 2019-20 state budget to provide scholarships to the more than 1,800 students on the Gardiner waiting list. Wednesday, he said that the new budget increases Gardiner funding by $23 million, to $147.9 million, which will allow the program to serve at least 2,000 more...