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Funding

family empowerment scholarship

‘Monumental day’: Senate passes Family Empowerment Scholarship

In a party-line vote, the Florida Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would create the state-funded Family Empowerment Scholarship, which would eliminate the waiting list for low-income families seeking the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC) and expand school choice opportunities for thousands of others. The legislation, SB 7070, would serve 18,000 students in the program’s first year. The number may expand each year by a quarter of one percent of the state’s total public school enrollment. A similar bill pending in the House, HB 7075, would accommodate 28,000 students in the first year. There are about 13,000 students on...
education

American achievement gaps in international context

The Economist published an interesting article recently titled, “How Chile combines competition and public funding.” The piece included a graphic demonstrating how Chilean students fared on the Program for International Student Assessment, an international test that every three years measures reading, mathematics and science literacy of 15-year-olds. The assessment also includes measures of general or cross-curricular competencies, such as collaborative problem solving. The graphic revealed how the PISA scores of Chilean students compared to those of students in nearby countries, provided the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development average, and showed the market share for various schooling sectors. Here is the...
education

The Hypocrisy of the For-Profit Attack

The term “for-profit” has been weaponized in public education by teachers unions and their tribal allies. They wield it against education improvement initiatives they oppose, especially education choice programs not covered by collective bargaining agreements. (Choice programs not operating under collective bargaining, such as Florida’s Voluntary PreK program, are not targets of for-profit attacks.) For-profit corporations are forbidden to operate charter schools in Florida and California. Yet these schools are constantly being attacked for profiting off students. The overwhelming majority of Florida private schools serving tax credit scholarship and voucher students are non-profit, but newspaper editorial boards regularly criticize them for...
family empowerment scholarship

Senate committee passes amended scholarship bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday advanced a bill that would create a new state-funded program to eliminate a waiting list of 13,000 for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship for lower-income families. SB 7070, which would establish the Family Empowerment Scholarship, previously passed two other committees. But the Appropriations Committee approved a significant “strike-all” amendment by the bill’s sponsor, Education Committee Chair Manny Diaz (R-Miami). The changes include increasing the income eligibility limit for families to 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($77,250 for a family of four), up from the previous version’s 260 percent, while giving priority to those families...

Money is fungible, not magical

Critics have spilled considerable ink attacking Florida’s proposed Family Empowerment Scholarship. The voucher would cost about $100 million and allow at least 15,000 low- and working-class students to attend private schools. “I’m afraid it will do damage to the regular public schools in the state of Florida,” said Sen. Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee), who opposed “diverting” money in the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) from public schools to private schools. “DeSantis private school voucher plan robs Florida public schools of needed money,” exclaimed the Palm Beach Post editorial board. “The plan would divert money from public education in a state that already ranks...
school choice

House committee approves charter funding bill

A bill that would require Florida school districts to share tax revenues with charter schools is headed to the House floor. The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday voted 15-2 to approve a package of tax issues (PCB WMC 19-02), a section of which addresses charter schools being denied funding from voter-approved local tax referendums. In November, voters in eight Florida counties approved extra taxes for public schools. Four of the counties – Alachua, Lee, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach – made formal decisions prior to the election not to share the revenue from tax increases with charter schools,...
Vance Aloupis

podcastED: Rep. Vance Aloupis on early childhood education, school choice

Rep. Vance Aloupis, R-Miami, narrowly beat his Democratic opponent in 2018 to represent Florida’s 115th District, a seat held by former Education Committee Chair Michael Bileca. One of many freshman members serving this year on House education committees, Aloupis wants to become a legislative leader in early childhood development. The Children’s Movement of Florida’s chief executive officer is carrying HB 1027 this session, which requires the state’s Office of Early Learning to develop training and course standards for school readiness program providers. “We have done a disservice to our public education system, and more importantly our children, by not professionalizing early...
charter schools

Death, taxes and K-12 funding disputes

Two new studies illuminate Florida K-12 funding. The first, from Mike Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, includes this chart: So, for those of you squinting at your iPhone, the east-west axis is tracking the percent change in enrollment between 2000 and 2015, while the north-south axis is showing the constant dollar percentage increase in per pupil funding. There obviously is a negative relationship between rapid enrollment growth and high levels of per pupil spending growth. Most of the states with very large increases saw their student population shrink. Florida looks...