Florida may be home to the largest private-school choice program in the nation, but its level of participation ranks no. 3 in the country, according to new data from the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.
The no. 1 state (Arizona) should come as no surprise. The no. 2 state (Vermont) might, though it’s home to one of the oldest school choice traditions in the United States.
The Friedman Foundation added up the number of private-school choice students in each state. In Florida, that’s about 30,000 on McKay Scholarships, more than 78,000 on tax credit scholarships, and roughly 4,000 using Gardiner Scholarships during the 2015-16 school year. It then divided the total by the number of “taxpayer-supported” students, including the nearly 2.8 million attending public schools. Florida’s private school choice participation rate came to about 4.1 percent. (Tax credit scholarships are supported with private, tax-credited donations, while the other two programs receive direct state funding).