Voucher Expansion Heads to Full House

Voucher Expansion Heads to Full House

By The News Service of Florida

A proposal that would make all Florida students eligible to receive taxpayer-backed school vouchers is headed to the full House, after getting some changes Friday. The Republican-controlled House Education Quality Subcommittee approved the proposal (HB 1) in a near party-line vote.

The bill would massively expand eligibility for vouchers, including allowing families of home-schooled students to receive the assistance. Also, it would establish what are commonly known as “education savings accounts,” or ESAs. The vouchers could be used on a range of purchases, including such things as instructional materials and fees for various exams.

The House panel approved changes Friday that brought the bill closer to alignment with a Senate version (SB 202). For instance, one change would require the State Board of Education to develop recommendations designed to “reduce regulation of public schools.” Lawmakers could consider the recommendations next year.

But critics of the bill questioned the proposal about deregulation. Marie-Claire Lehman, with the group Fund Education Now, said that part of the bill “feels a little bit insincere given the number of bills this session that are going to continue to overregulate our public schools.”

Another change adopted Friday would allow using vehicles other than buses to transport students. Rep. Susan Valdes, D-Tampa, said a shortage of bus drivers, in part, prompted the change.

“What this will do is, it will allow for — there are some companies that have been vetted through the (state) Department of Education to provide these services,” Valdes said. Another change, which is not included in the Senate version, would direct the education commissioner to develop an online portal aimed at helping families choose from the “range of school choice options” offered in Florida.

4 Responses to "Voucher Expansion Heads to Full House"

  1. @Deep Six — Times have certainly changed, haven’t they? My schooling was much like yours. I can still remember the only time a teacher took issue with me in class and called me out in front of my classmates. I was in English class and reading a math book that wasn’t part of the school curriculum! A kid today would be lauded for being able to actually read!!!!

  2. Public schools are failing our children, it would be insane not to do something about it. If public schools aren’t interested in listening to the parents, they can carry on without their money. When I went to Rickards I read Shakespeare, the complete works of Tacitus, The Odyssey, we read, and understood all of the classics.
    I hired two kids last summer; one was from Lincoln and the other from Rickards and neither one of them could write in complete sentences. They graduated in the fall…

  3. I like it. Do your job House, and for the sake of our children and future… pass this now.

    Defund the Public Indoctrination System

  4. But critics of the bill questioned how are we going to indoctinerate little Jack and Jill into the non-standard sexual views contrary to the sexual views of the vast majority of humankind since Adam and Eve?
    How can we ever keep Democrats in power with a majority voter base of hetros?
    We need your kids in the public school system. Studies have clearly shown citizens with non standard sexual views are the most loyal Democratic voters on the planet. We need your kids in our schools to make more and more of them.

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