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Education savings accounts

Home education

Home Education Enrichment Program gives students choice and community

The idea that pain can lead to a positive change in one’s life left students seeking more answers in Jason Crawford’s class. One student sat laughing in disbelief. “How could this be?” she asked with amazement. “Because pain leads to awareness and awareness plus choice equals action,” said Crawford, donning glasses and sporting a beard, as he wrote the formula on the wipe board. “Action turns into habits.” This was not your typical classroom. Crawford is not your typical teacher. He is a marketing consultant who has a master’s in counseling. Pathfinding is just one of more than 50 courses students can take...
reading scholarship

Students struggling with reading find renewed hope with scholarship

Kenneth Balazy, 10, learns differently than your average student. He has ADHD and executive functioning disorder. As a result, he easily becomes distracted and finds it hard to focus in class. A 9-year-old Sanford resident, whose mother wanted her name withheld, struggles with a learning disability, where it takes a little longer for her to grasp the meaning of a lesson. And English is not Camila Cabazos’ first language, making key concepts in learning hard to comprehend for the 10-year-old Sarasota native. All three students share a common challenge: they struggle in reading comprehension and need more one-on-one help to overcome obstacles...

Gardiner Scholarships give students with autism a homeschool lifeline

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 of the students in the class were two years older and several of them were violent, his mother, Sandy Edwards, remembers. Jared was bullied regularly and it affected him on many levels. He was self-conscious about everything and became withdrawn. He was unable to finish his school work and was performing poorly. But the...

Education Next releases annual survey on universal voucher support

Public support for universal school vouchers has increased 9 percentage points to 54 percent in the last year, according to the 2018 Education Next annual survey of American public opinion on education. Meanwhile, opposition has fallen by 6 percentage points to 31 percent. However, Martin West, one of the survey authors, cautioned against interpreting the increased support as a long-term trend since support has fluctuated over the years. “What stands out to me is a variety of proposals for expanding parental choice in education that draw more support than opposition from the American public,” said West, professor of education at...

Nation’s first public school reading voucher opens for applications Monday

Starting Monday, Florida families can apply for the first voucher in the nation aimed at helping public elementary school students who struggle with reading. Already, more than 2,400 have signed up on an interest list. Step Up For Students, a nonprofit that publishes this blog, is the only state-approved scholarship organization that has chosen to administer the program. After conducting a beta test last week, Step Up is turning on its online application for all comers on Monday. Families can apply through the homepage. The scholarship program is fueled by a longstanding academic concern: Students who can’t read by the end...

Florida proposes rules for first-of-its-kind reading scholarship program

Starting next school year, Florida public elementary-school students who are disappointed in their reading test results may have a new option to help raise their score. The state Department of Education released a draft rule last week to carry out the state's new Reading Scholarship Account program. Students in grades three through five who score below a Level 3 (generally considered a passing score) in reading on their third- or fourth-grade Florida Standards Assessments can apply for the scholarships, worth $500, while supplies last. Lawmakers set aside $9.7 million for the program. The law allows parents to use the accounts to pay...
school choice

What all is in that massive Florida education bill?

Today, the Florida Senate is expected to vote on the biggest education bill of this year’s legislative session. A contentious teachers union certification proposal might overshadow the rest of HB 7055. But the bill also contains a wide range of provisions related to charter schools and educational choice. Here’s a rundown of what the Senate's proposed rewrite would do. Charter schools High-performing charter schools would be able to replicate — meaning, open a similar school in a new location — twice a year, rather than just once. Last year, HB 7069 allowed high-performing charters to replicate more than once if they opened new schools in...

Fla. Senate panel tweaks wide-ranging education legislation, sends it to floor

The Florida Senate's approach to a wide-ranging education proposal cleared its final committee hurdle this afternoon. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to send the measure to the floor during a contentious hearing dominated by the body's response to a school shooting in Broward County earlier this month. The panel made several key tweaks to its rewrite of HB 7055. An amendment by Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, revived a teachers union certification proposal adamantly opposed by labor groups. Another, by Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, would create a new education savings account program* for public-school students who struggle on reading tests. Parents could use the accounts...