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What do you think about vouchers?

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

It's not clear to me how much is in the budget for the voucher money that is being given away to subsidize homeschooled and private schooled students' education expenses. Here's the budget: https://flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2023/2500/ Please let me know if you figure it out. Thanks!


This article leads me to believe that the $2.2 billion will go to vouchers. But what happens if the cost is $4 Billion like Florida Policy Institute predicts? Will the funding for neighborhood schools be lower than last year in order to subsidize the tuition of the students already in private schools or being homeschooled?

Lawmakers approved putting a record $26.7 billion into the the Florida Education Finance Program, the main funding source for public schools. That represents an increase of $2.2 billion over the current year. The budget also includes $350 million for what has been dubbed the Educational Enrollment Stabilization Program, which would help hedge against unanticipated financial impacts from the expansion of school vouchers.

I keep trying to find the answer to the question "where will the money come from"'if the Florida Policy Institute is right and the cost is $4 Billion.


Excerpt:

Exactly how expensive is it, and where will the money come from? The state House says $209.6 million in the first year; the Senate suggested dedicating $2.2 billion. The Florida Policy Institute, which studied the Arizona program, projects at least a staggering $4 billion in its first year. Unsurprisingly, students who use vouchers to attend substandard, often unaccredited schools with little oversight gain nothing educationally, or even fall back, as a Brookings report found last fall. In a state infamous as a magnet for schemers and grifters, there’s plenty of reason to worry as millions of dollars in new spending will soon pour into schools that have little accountability

DeSantis signed a bill that will give about $8,000 to parents who agree not to send their child to a magnet, neighborhood, or charter school. There is inadequate accountability. What do you think of these suggestions? If we elect people who support accountability, then these reforms could be put into place.

Require accountability for the vouchers so that the money can only go to schools that meet these qualifications:

  • Require accreditation by reputable accreditation organization

  • Require a meaningful capital/endowment-to-operations threshold

  • Subject voucher school recipients to the same model of oversight that the Early Learning Coalition provides for state-funded Pre-K providers.

  • Require that voucher schools take the same tests the district-run and charter schools take. And make them ineligible for vouchers if they score a D or F.

  • Require that they meet the nondiscrimination rules of f.s. 1000.05 including that they can't charge higher tuition to "nonmembers of their church"

  • The school will be subject to IDEA (they can't exclude kids with disabilities and they must provide the services required by IDEA)

  • Require that the school provide extra funding to subsidize the tuition of low income families so that no student is denied admission due to family income


Excerpts from articles about vouchers:


Fiscal watchdogs and voucher critics predicted this cash grab would occur — that schools would raise tuition, pricing out low income families. Democrats proposed some checks and balances to prevent schools from doing that, but Republicans rejected those safeguards. ... Of the 276 private schools listed in Orange, state records show fewer than 50 are accredited. I see value in school choice with basic accountability measures. Lawmakers could require all voucher schools to publish graduation rates and nationally accepted test scores, hire teachers with degrees, disclose all the curriculum and not discriminate with taxpayer money.

“We decided that we need to take maximum advantage of this dramatically expanded funding source [the voucher bill that will give an $8,000 voucher to any student including billionaires],”the St. Paul pastor said. So instead of paying $6,000 per child in tuition, families at the school who are St. Paul parish members will now be charged $10,000 per child. Nonmembers will be charged $12,000 per child, instead of $7,000. Discounts for multiple-student families will be eliminated. Voucher critics said the decision was predictable, and expected more private schools to follow suit. Tuition “is going to keep increasing, because they’re going to keep raising the voucher amount,” said Holly Bullard, chief strategy officer with Florida Policy Institute.

A 2022 article before the voucher expansion bill:

The median private school in Florida is an absolute shit show because of vouchers. That’s what my Jeb Crow series is about. Indeed, for all the Corcoran/Tuthill/grifter efforts to kill public education, very few kids relative to overall school population use vouchers. And those kids constantly abandon their vouchers because the median private school is not Tampa Jesuit or Jacksonville Bolles or Lakeland Christian — it’s a grifter-operator shit show. The only marginal voucher “success” had been McKay and Gardiner and the specialized ESE services they helped fund; and now SUFS and the grifters are killing it. I’d be an angry McKay/Gardiner parent, too. I did try to tell everybody. Your legislature and governor and Doug Tuthill have obviously chosen to stick it to former Gardiner/McKay parents and kids while sending the big money to the failed super voucher general education “schools.”

A 2021 article from Billy Townsend:

Inclusion is really hard to do well and requires strong human supports and expertise to make it work, even in a public system that sees inclusion as a key ESE goal. Real inclusion does not happen in schools without sustained public or private capital investment and rigorous attention. …Super concentrated ESE populations in the real public schools are found in “center” schools. They specialize in serving children with profound disabilities that make inclusion impossible. Center schools also require enormous resources because profoundly disabled children need close attention and care, often 24/7. … As with my previous articles on Jeb Crow education, it’s pretty visually instructive to compare what a racially-segregated ESE school with no capital looks like compared to an integrated-ish school for special needs kids with lots of capital. … Because I study this closely, I know SUFS is a con that doesn’t mean anything it says except: “give us our cut.” SUFS spends apparently no time and money on overseeing its branded schools or cleansing the vendor information and data in the marketplace. It has, however, invested in annoying sales bots that swarm you as soon as you start searching for a school on the website.
Four reforms to voucher provider eligibility would fix this quickly:
  • Require accreditation by the same organization that accredits schools like All Saints and Lakeland Christiank

  • Require a meaningful capital/endowment-to-operations threshold

  • Subject voucher school recipients to the same model of oversight that the Early Learning Coalition provides for state-funded Pre-K providers.

  • Require that voucher schools take the same tests public schools take



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