Four: Empower Kids with the Best Education
Parents and students should be in control of their education, not bureaucrats or administrators. Florida has excellent opportunities available to students that don't want to take the traditional public school path, including charter schools, virtual school, homeschool, and scholarship programs like Step-Up for Students.
Florida’s school choice programs should be expanded and given the tools necessary for success, and parents should have the ability to turn around failing schools.
Charter schools should have funding parity with other public schools, virtual schools should have a statewide charter, a parent "trigger" law should be enacted and successful scholarship programs like Step-Up for Students should be expanded.
Florida kids deserve a future rich with opportunity. We must empower each parent and student with the freedom to choose the best education for them, and give all kids the skills to achieve their dreams.
- Florida’s Step-Up for Students scholarship program served 38,032 students in 2012: 70% were in grades K-5, 87.7% are below the poverty line and 56% are in single-parent households. Source: Foundation for Government Accountability
- In 2012, charter schools served 179,900 Florida students in grades K-12, ranking us 3rd in charter school enrollment in the country. Source: Florida Department of Education
- In 2011-12, 64% of Florida’s charter students were minorities and 47% were free or reduced lunch eligible. Source: Florida Department of Education
- Disproportionate funding puts charter schools at a disadvantage over traditional public schools – with charters receiving only 68-71% of district FTE funding. Source: Florida TaxWatch
- A higher percentage of students score a 3 or better on FCAT reading, math and science tests in charter schools vs. traditional public schools. Source: Florida DOE
- The bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors voted unanimously to support “parent trigger” laws that allow parents to turn around their children’s failing schools. Source: Reuters, 18 June 2012