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Education savings accounts

opportunity scholarship

State-funded scholarship programs: then and now

In 1999 Florida passed the Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), the nation’s first statewide school voucher program in nearly fifty years. Florida also became the first to have a statewide voucher program struck down in 2006 under Bush v. Holmes. More than a decade later, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a new state-funded program called the “Equal Opportunity Scholarship,” reanimating debates about the constitutionality of vouchers in the Sunshine State. Back-to-back Florida Supreme Court victories for “voucher” supporters suggest the Holmes ruling began to unravel well before DeSantis appointed three new justices. In fact, significant legal criticism of the ruling at the...
school choice

Gov. DeSantis proposes new program to end FTC wait list

ORLANDO -- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday called on the Legislature to create a new state-funded program that would reduce the number of families on a waiting list to receive the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC) for lower-income families. Speaking at Calvary City Christian Academy & Preschool, DeSantis proposed establishing an “equal opportunity scholarship” funded in the state budget to ensure that demand from lower-income and working class parents for educational choice can be met. It would provide scholarships in the same amount as the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, and the program’s enrollment would be capped at 14,000 students...
Gardiner scholarship

Displaced Puerto Rican family desperate for Gardiner Scholarship

TAMPA – Aleena Martinez bounded into her family’s small, sparsely furnished living room as if it were an inflatable bounce house. A pair of blue rabbit ears crowned her dark curls and a menagerie of stuffed animals filled her arms. The 12-year-old abandoned the animals on the couch and ran to the kitchen, where she began rummaging in the cabinets. She returned waving two boxes of cake mix – one vanilla, one brownie. “We’ll bake one, then we’ll put them together,” Aleena told her mother, Damaris Lorenzo. “It’s science!” she announced with enthusiasm. Aleena had just arrived home from her neighborhood school...

Urban Institute findings encourage an opportunity powerup

A new study from the Urban Institute on college enrollment/completion rates of Florida Tax Credit Scholarship students represents both a triumph and a call for additional action. Let’s touch upon the triumph part first. The analysis shows statistically significant benefits for students participating in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship in both college attendance and degree competition compared to a matched sample of similar Florida public school students. Moreover, the study finds that the longer students participate in the program, the greater the size of positive effect. Some context makes these findings all the more impressive: The average size of the Florida...

Florida Gov. DeSantis: ‘Don’t worry about the Gardiner Scholarship’

ORLANDO – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reiterated his pledge to end the waitlist for special needs children who have qualified for a state-funded scholarship at a second school visit Monday. Following a morning stop at North Florida School of Special Education in Jacksonville, DeSantis traveled to Pace Brantley School in Longwood, outside Orlando. Pace Brantley, a private school situated on a sprawling, 9-acre campus, specializes in educating children with a variety of special needs including attention deficit disorder, dyslexia and other learning disabilities. “As long as I’m governor, don’t worry about the Gardiner scholarship,” DeSantis told a group of more than 50...

Florida Gov. DeSantis vows to end Gardiner waitlist

JACKSONVILLE – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday promised to eliminate the wait list for children who have qualified for a state-funded scholarship for students with special needs. DeSantis, flanked by First Lady Casey DeSantis and Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, visited the North Florida School of Special Education where he addressed parents of students awaiting a Gardiner Scholarship, the nation’s largest education savings account program, as well as those families who have benefited from it. “In the budget just released, I’ve allocated enough money to get rid of the waitlist for the Gardiner Scholarship entirely,” DeSantis told the crowd of...
school choice

Top lawmakers preview legislative choice agenda

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Two of the Florida Legislature’s biggest players in education policy indicated Wednesday that accommodating students on waiting lists for education choice scholarships would be a priority in this year’s legislative session. Both Senate Education Committee Chair Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, and House Education Chair Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora, spoke at a luncheon celebrating National School Choice Week at the James Madison Institute. Diaz said his priority will be addressing the 13,000 students on the waiting list for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and the smaller waitlist for the Gardiner Scholarship. “I’m looking forward to having the Senate lead,” Diaz said....

National School Choice Week: A chance to advance equality and opportunity

When The Fellowship of the Ring was released in 2001, I was in the subset of viewers who had not read J.R.R. Tolkien’s books. Yes, right, I know: Nerd demerit! It proved beneficial as a movie-going experience, as it shocked me: Wait, what? Sarumon is a bad guy?? The Gandalf vs. Saruman fight scene comes to mind when I see choice supporters who say they “support choice,” but only a particular type of choice. David Osborne’s piece in The 74 is a recent example of this genre. Osborne obviously is a sincere gentleman, but the scale of our challenges lies...