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Education savings accounts

Disparities in political power undermine education equity

Those of us who are career educators know the veracity of the old saying, “Every education decision is a political decision.” This is especially evident in how school districts and their elected school boards distribute resources. In most school districts, affluent families with political influence have access to more and better resources than lower-income families with less political influential. Teaching, for example, is the most valuable asset school districts distribute. Research shows that Inexperienced first-year teachers are much more likely to teach in high-poverty schools than in schools serving affluent families. This disparity in political influence and resource allocation undermines...
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...
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...

revisitED: Gardiner Scholarships give students with autism a homeschool lifeline

Editor’s note: redefinED is supporting National Autism Awareness Month each Saturday in April by reposting articles from our archives that celebrate those who champion the educational rights of children with autism. Today’s post, which originally appeared in September 2018, features a mother and son that found success through a Gardiner Scholarship. By Livi Stanford Every day was a battle for Jared Wendlberger in school. The 7-year old, at the time, would come home in tears, after his backpack and lunch were stolen by his classmates. Jared, who has high-functioning autism, was placed in an emotional behavior disorder class in the second grade. Some...
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...

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...
school choice

Bills to enhance Gardiner Scholarship filed in both legislative chambers

Bills to enhance the Gardiner Scholarship program were filed in the House and Senate this week.  HB 1051 and its companion SB 1380 were filed by Rep. Elizabeth Fetterhoff (R-DeLand) and Sen. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) respectively. If passed by both chambers and signed by the governor, the changes in the bill would allow parents to apply for the scholarship the day their child turns 3, and permit parents to use the scholarship to pay for tuition and fees associated with art, music or theater programs. The bills also would make it easier for parents to renew their scholarship. Renewing parents would...
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...