Private Schools

Florida Gov. DeSantis highlights school choice support on MLK Day

LAUDERDALE LAKES, Fla. – New Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis used the backdrop of Martin Luther King Jr. Day to underscore his commitment to expanding educational choice, addressing an audience at a predominantly black, all-boys private school where every student is a recipient of a state-backed choice scholarship. DeSantis told about 200 members of the Piney Grove Boys Academy community – students, parents, educators and other supporters – that he supports a definition of public education that includes publicly funded options beyond district schools. “We don’t want somebody’s potential to be limited because they happen to live in this zip code or...

podcastED: Pastor Robert Ward – Educational choice gives black parents hope

If anybody doubts the passion for educational choice in black communities, come visit Mt. Moriah Christian Fundamental School in predominantly black south St. Petersburg, Fla. and chat with its founder, Pastor Robert Ward. Ward started the private micro-school for grades 6-8 in 2011 with three students. Now it has 56. And now it’s routinely turning away children because there are waiting lists, both for the school and for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship for lower-income students, the largest private school choice program in America. (The scholarship is administered by nonprofits such as Step Up For Students, which hosts this blog.) “Parents are...
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...

Montana court decision on educational choice invites U.S. Supreme Court overrule

By Andrew Wimer Last week, the Montana Supreme Court struck down the tax credit scholarship program created by that state’s legislature in 2015. The decision ignored recent U.S. Supreme Court precedent and was out of line with every other state court decision involving tax credit scholarship programs. The Montana program provides a modest tax credit (up to $150 annually) to individuals and businesses that donate to private scholarship organizations. There are 18 such programs nationwide, or there were until last week. The Montana Supreme Court struck down the program because it allowed children to attend both religious and non-religious schools. The...

One day, a school for Kiwie

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kids walking past the classroom windows would point and yell, like kids in a zoo. “THAT’S A GIRL!” They’d grab his chest and groin, to see if the rumors were true. All day, he’d avoid the middle school restroom, to avoid boys sliding under the stall. “Dyke.” “It.” Maybe it’d have been less hellish if students were his only tormentors. One time, Kiwie got the courage to raise his hand for help, only to have the teacher enunciate the stab. “Yes, ma’am?” “It felt,” Kiwie said, “like my heart was squished.” Kiwie is 14. He’s an eighth...

DeSantis speaks on school choice and security at visit to Jewish Day school

In his first trip to South Florida since winning the election, Governor-elect Ron DeSantis visited a Jewish Day school Monday where he spoke about the importance of expanding educational options and enhancing security specifically at such schools. DeSantis visited Brauser Maimonides Academy, a Jewish Day school in Fort Lauderdale, where 80 students use the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship for low-income students. Step Up For Students, which helps administer the scholarship, publishes this blog. “For his first trip to be focused on visiting a Jewish day school, talking about security and expanding school choice says an enormous amount about what his priorities...
catholic school

Catholic schools join specialized program to meet learning needs

The losses were small but concerning. On average each year, two students with learning needs were leaving Lourdes Academy in Daytona Beach. Like many other Catholic schools, Lourdes simply did not have a full-time staff person to help meet the needs of those students. According to principal Stephen Dole, that deficit made it hard for the school to identify the students and the interventions they may need. “When you think of 225 students you have and out of those 25 are struggling, that is a decent number you have to allocate resources to,” he said. When Dole learned of the Program for...

Adopted siblings thriving in private school after severe neglect in early childhood

Editor’s note: To mark National Adoption Awareness Month, RedefinED is highlighting a choice scholarship that serves children who are or were in Florida’s foster care system. INVERNESS, Fla. – There is no hiding from the nightmarish stories of his early childhood, but Diego Cornelius is grateful to have forgotten most of the details. Some things he can’t forget, like the time he smelled smoke in their mobile home and woke everyone, saving them, before all of their possessions burned. Or the time he fell from a boat without a life vest, and nearly drowned before his mom jumped in. Most of the...