The Florida House of Representatives passed another voucher program, this time directly funded by taxpayers.

The Florida Senate already approved the program. They rejected all Democratic amendments, even one to stop people who had been previously convicted of fraud from opening a charter school!

The state constitution prohibits use of public funds for religious schools, and in the past lawmakers used a “work-around,” like tuition tax credits, to pretend that public funds were not going directly to religious schools. This bill avoids the pretense. Money to pay for religious schools will come out of the public fund for public schools. This will harm the public schools that enroll more than 80% of the state’s students.

In 2012, Florida voters opposed Jeb Bush’s effort to change the state constitution to permit the kind of bill that passed yesterday.

Recent studies agree that students who use vouchers do not make academic gains and are likely to suffer academic losses.

Voucher schools in Florida are unregulated, need not have certified teachers, and are not subject to state standards or tests. They are, as a series in the Orlando Sentinel said, “schools without rules.”

At the same time, the legislature tightly regulates public schools with burdensome mandates, and there is a statewide teacher shortage.

The decision yesterday in the Florida House was not conservative. Conservatives don’t destroy vital public goods. Conservatives conserve. The vote taken was a display of radical extremism, driven by money and ideology.

The vote was not about the best interests of children, most of whom will attend schools with an anti-science, anti-modern Biblical curriculum.

The Republican Party of Florida has no shame.