fbpx

Education savings accounts

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...
school choice

Doug Tuthill: Wishes for a better future

  Here are some education choice stocking stuffers that would please me this holiday season. Over the years, we have tried and failed to systematize educating the whole child. Our latest attempt includes focusing on social and emotional learning (SEL). While everyone seems to agree that integrating SEL into public education is essential, we’re making little progress in how to assess SEL skills. We need developmentally appropriate, reliable and valid measures of SEL skills. These assessments should generate formative data that are continuously available to educators, parents, and students. The accountability systems in public education need to improve. We need less regulatory...
Gardiner scholarship

Gardiner Scholarship ‘a Godsend’ for Lake Mary family

Ashton Fernandez couldn’t contain his excitement. The 7-year-old was ready to decorate his yard with inflatable Christmas decorations with twin sister Audrey, and he bounded around his family’s living room with obvious glee. Diagnosed at an early age with autism spectrum disorder, Ashton communicates almost completely non-verbally. He smiled wide and tugged at Audrey’s arm, imploring her to play until it was time to decorate their sprawling Lake Mary lawn. As he did so, Arlo, a laid-back golden retriever, sauntered through the room, casually taking in the pre-holiday cheer. “Arlo is Ashton’s therapy dog,” said Jennifer Fernandez, Ashton and Audrey’s mother. She is...

School Wars: Return of the Nerdi

Hello again Florida. I’m glad to be “back” although still from a distance – a distance I hope that will continue to have a utility. I’ll get to that in a bit. I’ve taken on a role as Editor of redefinED and I have been asked to introduce myself, which is not something I’m accustomed to or comfortable in doing. Bear with me. Like a former Florida governor, I was raised by a proper Episcopalian family in southeast Texas in the late 20th Century. Also like this governor, I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin – he in 1978,...
school choice

Doug Tuthill: ESAs bring healthier market to education

Markets are like gravity. They are everywhere. Markets are where supply meets demand. They are how we access the things we need and want, including food, clothing, housing, friends, media, health care, romantic partners, entertainment, and education. Even those needing kidney transplants are dependent on well-designed markets. Public education also is a market -- unfortunately, a poorly functioning one, especially for low-income and minority children, and most teachers. I’ve been working to improve public education for 42 years. My primary lesson learned is that a well-designed market is a necessary condition before improvements can be systemic, sustainable, effective, and efficient. Effective and efficient...