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Are we getting our money's worth with vouchers?

Updated: Jul 11, 2022

The customer of publicly funded education in Florida is the taxpayer, not just the parent and student. Public education is the cornerstone of our democracy. An educated public assures we have critical thinking voters as well as a valued workforce.

I recently read an op-ed written by the spokesperson for Step Up for Students, the organization that earns a commission for almost every voucher given in Florida. I’d love to hear if Step Up For Students think the following are good ideas for accountability and transparency for the voucher system in Florida. If yes, would they lobby to get these rules passed in the next legislative session? 1. The school must be accredited—a safeguard to make sure taxpayer money is being spent on a quality school. 2. Nondiscrimination rules that apply to the district-run schools must also apply to the voucher funded schools. IF gay, black, etc. kids have been denied admission, then the school should be ineligible for future vouchers. The taxpayers don't want to fund schools that promote bigotry, do we? 3. There should be income limits on which families qualify for the vouchers. 4. The voucher funded private schools should participate in the same testing rules that apply to charter and district-run schools so parents can compare schools. 5. The curricula required of the district-run schools regarding tolerance should also apply to the voucher funded private schools. That statute that only applies to the district run schools reads as follows:

The history of the Holocaust must be taught in a manner that leads to an investigation of human behavior, an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping, and an examination of what it means to be a responsible and respectful person, for the purposes of encouraging tolerance of diversity in a pluralistic society and for nurturing and protecting democratic values and institutions.

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