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Private Schools

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...
black history month

redefinED revisited: One man’s war on Florida’s desegregated schools

Editor’s note: This February marks the 43rd anniversary of Black History Month. President Gerald R. Ford, in the nation’s bicentennial year, urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” redefinED is taking this opportunity to revisit some pieces from our archives appropriate for this annual celebration. The article below originally appeared in redefinED in September 2016. Orange Park Normal and Industrial School was memorialized with a historical marker last year during Black History Month. "We do not refuse anyone on account of race," Orange Park...

Once bullied, now safe, happy, and thriving

BELLE GLADE, Fla. – When she’s in class, the look on Armani Powe’s face is solemn, focused. She doesn’t harden her gaze intentionally. It happens naturally. “When it comes to my grades,” she says, “I get really serious.” Armani, 12, turns quiet and a little withdrawn when asked about the bullying she endured in second grade at her neighborhood school. “It makes me all sad just to remember it,” she explains with the distance of several years. She doesn’t mind telling the story, though, because she’s happy, safe, and thriving now at a private school. A Florida Tax Credit Scholarship from Step Up...

A match made in heaven: innovation and Catholic education

Editor’s note: The National Catholic Educational Association is sponsoring Catholic Schools Week from Jan. 27-Feb. 2. Students, families, parishioners and community members are focusing on the value that Catholic education provides to young people as well as its contribution to local communities. This year’s theme is Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed. Catholic schools have a rich tradition of providing high-quality education to disadvantaged children in America’s cities. A recent study of private school enrollment in Education Next found that middle-income families in particular have been losing access to private schools, in part due to a declining number of Catholic schools. It’s...

Florida Catholic schools hold their own in sea of school choice

Editor’s note: Catholic Schools Week, sponsored by the National Catholic Educational Association, is celebrated this year from Jan. 27-Feb. 2. Through events such as open houses and other activities for students, families, parishioners and community members, schools focus on the value that Catholic education provides to young people as well as its contribution to local communities. This year’s theme is Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed. NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – In the car line at St. James Catholic School, nursing assistants, housekeepers and taxi drivers stop-and-go their compacts, sending a steady pulse of students in monogrammed navy sweaters and iconic...
education choice

Charter schools take top spot as Florida’s most popular ed choice option

Charter schools overtook “Choice and Magnet programs” and “Open Enrollment” to become the most popular school of choice for Florida parents in 2017-18. The annual Changing Landscapes document above shows 1.63 million preK-12 students, or 47.1 percent of the 3.46 million students statewide, opted for schools outside their zoned neighborhood school. Charters took the No. 1 spot thanks in part to an increase of 12,081 students, but also because of a 58,499 student decline in “Choice and Magnet” programs. Polk County accounted for the decline, and then some, in the “Choice and Magnet” programs category with a decrease of 61,036 students....
private schools

Private school generosity provides relief for families on scholarship wait list

By Scott Kent and Donna Winchester Some people just can’t take “no” for an answer. Among them are administrators at hundreds of Florida private schools that are providing free and reduced tuition to thousands of students on the waiting list for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship. A case in point: Sunrise Academy in Orange City, a preK-12 school that enrolls 157 students. Founder and president Yahayra Marte, who describes Sunrise’s philosophy as “leave no one behind, like the military,” has waived tuition for 42 students. She’s reduced fees for another 15 students. Marte estimates that Sunrise has taken a $312,000 financial hit, which...