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 public charter schools, virtual school, home school, and Tax Credit Scholarships.

Florida’s school choice programs should be expanded and given the tools necessary for success.

Our children deserve a future rich with opportunity. Education options should not be limited by a student’s zip code or financial situation. We must also ensure that tax dollars are used for programs that deliver the best outcomes for students. 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. 

THE FACTS:

  • Florida’s Step-Up for Students scholarship program served almost 60,000 students during  the 2013-14 school year: 71% were in grades K-5, 54% are from single-parent households and the average annual household income of a scholarship recipient is $24,798. Source: Step-Up for Students
  • 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