school vouchers

Kate Payne

United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited Leon County Tuesday, making stops at Holy Comforter Episcopal School and the Florida State University Research School. DeVos used the trip to champion school choice and individual liberties.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / flickr.com/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Department of Education is a conservative fundraiser and vocal critic of traditional public schools. While Betsy DeVos’ nomination could mean drastic change for some states, she has already made her mark on Florida’s education system.

Denisha Merriweather appears in this promotional video asking the FEA to, "drop the suit"--a reference to its lawsuit against Florida's corporate tax scholarship program.
Save Our Scholarships

The Florida Supreme Court will not hear a challenge to the state’s corporate tax scholarship program. The move comes after months of pressure on the state’s largest teachers union to drop its lawsuit.

Round two of a fight over Florida’s tax credit scholarship program gears up next month. And the scholarship-funding group Step Up For Students, continues to press the state’s teacher’s union to drop its lawsuit against the program.

Denisha Merriweather appears in this promotional video asking the FEA to, "drop the suit"--a reference to its lawsuit against Florida's corporate tax scholarship program.
Save Our Scholarships

A legal challenge to the state’s key school choice program has been tossed by a Leon County judge. The ruling centered on whether the groups bringing the challenge could do it, and not on whether the corporate tax scholarship program is legal.

The long-established Florida School Board Association is facing a challenge from a new organization. The new group forms in the wake of the FSBA’s decision to join a lawsuit contesting the state’s corporate tax scholarship program and turnover in local school board races.

Florida School Boards Association President Wayne Blanton sees parallels between the election, the decision by the FSBA to join a lawsuit over the corporate tax scholarship program, and the creation of a new group calling itself the Florida Coalition of School Board members.

LHatter / WFSU News

A Tallahassee Judge is weighing whether to allow a constitutional challenge to the state’s tax credit scholarship program to proceed. Since its inception, the program has been a target for legislative challenges, but the current pending litigation has generated larger, more expansive efforts by supporters to get the lawsuit tossed.

Opponents call the program school vouchers, but the technical name is the Corporate Tax Scholarship program. It’s the subject of a lawsuit. Supporters of the program are pushing for the lawsuit to be dropped—most recently appealing to a statewide audience through a Super Bowl Ad.

The commercial features Valentin Mendez, a high school sophomore at La Progresiva, a private school in South Florida that opened 40 years ago. It has roots in Cuba.

LHatter / WFSU News

A lawsuit over a new program that grants personal learning accounts to students with disabilities has been tossed out by a trial judge.

The Florida Education Association, a teacher’s union, sued the Florida legislature over a new law expanding the state’s existing corporate tax scholarship program, which critics call school vouchers.  FEA attorney Ron Meyer argued the way the legislature adopted the expansion—by attaching it at the last minute to a more popular program that sets up financial accounts for disabled students—violated state law:

A teachers union isn’t backing down from its legal challenges to the state’s largest school choice program.The Florida Education Association has re-filed a lawsuit questioning how lawmakers expanded the so-called school voucher system, and continues moving forward with another lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the overall program.

LHatter

A constitutional challenge to Florida's de-facto school voucher program has supporters worried it could end if the plaintiffs prevail.

“What do we want? School Choice, when do we want it now!"

This has become the call of pro-school choice advocates in the constant rallies to promote the Florida’s various educational options.  Now one of the options--the popular tax scholarship program used to send low income students to private schools-- is facing a legal challenge. Advocates like Rabbi Moshe Matz of Agudath Israel of Florida in Miami, oppose the move.

The Florida Education Association, Florida School Board Association and a coalition of other groups want the state courts to do away with the corporate tax scholarship program.

FEA Vice President Joanne McCall sums up her group’s argument against the state’s school voucher program like this:

“People have a choice. If they want they can put their kids in private schools. That’s their right. But it’s not the public’s responsibility.”

MGN Online

Governor Rick Scott has signed close to 70 bills into law this week—most of them Friday. They include a slew of gun-related measures, a controversial voucher expansion bill, and a bill dealing with medical marijuana.

Charlotte's Web

Among the high profile bills the Governor has already signed includes a bill that would legalize a low strain of marijuana known as “Charlotte’s Web” to help treat seizures.

StepUpForStudents.org

Update: 9:40 p.m: The Florida House and Senate have approved an expansion of the state's corporate tax scholarship "voucher" program and are sending the bill to Governor Rick Scott. The Senate approved its version of the bill early Friday sending it to the House--where lawmakers delayed in passing the bill over concerns it takes away the special diploma option for disabled students.

A proposal to expand the state’s so-called school voucher program has been revived in the Senate. The move comes in the waning weeks of the legislative session but doesn’t quite match with what the House wants.

Florida Senate

School choice opponents are lining up against a proposal giving students with disabilities additional funding. They say while the intent of the bill is noble, they fear it will lead to even greater segregation within Florida’s education system.

Florida House To Vote On School Voucher Expansion

Mar 28, 2014
The Florida Channel

A bill significantly expanding Florida’s school voucher program is headed for the House floor, even though a similar proposal was withdrawn from the Senate, leading many to believe the issue was dead for this session. A Friday committee hearing revived a familiar—and heated—debate on education and religion.  

Republican supporters want to increase funding to the state’s corporate tax scholarship program, they say, for parents who feel public school has failed their children—parents like Tallahassee mother of five Alyson Hochstedler.

It’s still early in the 2014 lawmaking session, but already gaps between the House and Senate are starting to emerge.

The Legislature has passed some high-priority bills, but other proposals are starting to stall out.

Florida Senate

A planned expansion of the state’s school voucher program has been derailed in the early weeks of the legislative session. What was once billed as a top priority of legislative leaders appears to be going nowhere, to the disappointment of the program’s backers.

*Correction: The Tax Credit Scholarship provides low-income students with a tuition subsidy to attend private schools. The subsidies are not based on whether a student previously attended a low performing school, as originally stated in this article.

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Many of the education priorities outlined by House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz were already in the works before the two met with reporters. But the changes got a boost when the leaders pushed them to the top of a fairly long list of legislative priorities.

Florida House / Florida Senate

Florida legislative leaders are pushing a big education agenda this year that features revamped higher education funding proposals and an overhaul to the state’s embattled school grading formula.

Unlike past years the education agenda took a backseat to more pressing issues—mainly the once-a-decade redistricting process. But at times, the annual fight over funding, vouchers, prayers and charter schools rose to the forefront. Lynn Hatter takes a look at what passed, what didn’t and what’s sure to come again next year.

A plan to expand the state’s corporate tax scholarship program, commonly called school vouchers, has cleared the House on a 92 to 24 vote. Lynn Hatter reports the measure would add more money into the program, which gives money to children in failing public schools to go to private ones.

Higher education will be the main focus for the education agenda of 2012 but there’s still enough room for several other education proposals to get hearings. Lawmakers have a smaller-than usual education agenda this year, but that doesn’t mean it still won’t be filled with controversy. Lynn Hatter reports school vouchers, a parent-trigger law and a constitutional proposal on the commissioner of education are just a few of the bills that will add spark to an otherwise policy-light session.