The Gainesville Sun published an editorial denouncing the newRepublican voucher program, which diverts money from public schools to unaccountable private and religious schools.

“Last week, Florida lawmakers voted to raid taxpayer money meant for public education to pay for middle-income families to send their children to private schools.

“They passed the measure despite these largely religious schools lacking the standards and other requirements that the state has piled on public schools. They passed the legislation despite the Florida Supreme Court rejecting a similar measure as unconstitutional in 2006.

“They even included $250,000 in the state budget for an expected legal fight but are surely expecting a positive outcome this time around before a state Supreme Court that had three new conservative members appointed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“After all, DeSantis has declared that “if the taxpayer is paying for education, it’s public education.″ He appears unconcerned with the consequences of continuing to divert money meant for traditional public schools to private and charter schools, while saddling traditional public schools with mandates that make it harder for educators to do their jobs and students to succeed.

“The newly passed legislation creates 18,000 vouchers at an initial cost of around $130 million, with the numbers rising in subsequent years. Families making up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, or $77,250 a year for a family of four, would be eligible for the new vouchers.

“Unlike previous private school “scholarships” provided to lower-income families, the funding for these vouchers would come directly out of the pot of money intended for public schools. Yet the Republican-controlled Legislature rejected amendments proposed by Democrats to increase accountability for these schools to anywhere near the level of their public counterparts…

“Florida has repeatedly ranked near the bottom of the country in teacher pay and per-pupil funding, and the voucher plan in the long term will only make things worse.

“The vouchers will accelerate a two decade-long trend of the state shifting money to private and charter schools at the expense of traditional public schools, creating parallel education systems held to different standards. The trend started under Gov. Jeb Bush, who was in the House chambers last week to celebrate the bill’s passage.”

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  1. Yvonne says:

    Good for the Gainesville Sun.

    If Florida continues on its destructive path, the people of FL will be scratching their heads and wondering, “What happened?” a few years from now.

    I wonder if the good people of FL will be able to figure out what happened to their state? I sure hope so. I also help they realize that people who have 2nd homes in their state don’t really care.

    I know several people who have 2nd homes in FL and I get the feeling they really don’t care about educating the young in FL. Most who have 2nd homes in FL sent or send their kids to private schools … at least the ones I know do have done this.

    It’s weird.

  2. retired teacher says:

    Most of the religious schools in Florida are unaccredited. Many colleges do not recognize the diploma from these schools. Students in these schools will have limited options for post secondary education. I hope the public realizes the ruse that this plan is, and most families stay with their public schools and work to get the state to invest in them. DeSantis and many members of the legislature are radical extremists, and I hope more people will show up at election time to vote for a much needed clean up in Tallahassee.

  3. Laura H. Chapman says:

    From the 74 million today:
    “DeVos travels to Baltimore today to speak at the national Education Writers Association conference. It’s her first appearance at the annual event attended by education reporters and communications professionals from around the country.

    — DeVos has more greatly restricted access to the press compared to her predecessors in previous administrations, which makes today’s remarks significant. Her appearance comes as she’s struggled to sell Congress on her federal tax credit scholarship proposal that would inject more funds into states’ school choice programs.

    — Here’s how it will play out: DeVos will make opening remarks on her agenda and priorities, and then sit down for an on-stage interview with the New York Times’ Erica Green. She’s also expected to take questions from the audience, according to EWA. The event starts at 12:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel. Watch the livestream.”

    So this event is scheduled during Teacher Appreciation Week, with a Secretary of Education who has no respect for teachers.

    • ciedie aech says:

      and she represents the overwhelming “reformer” attitude that the profession of teaching is not a profession: any minimally-paid and minimally-trained youngster can surely do whatever it is that those veteran teachers do

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