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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Some disturbing facts about Florida’s voucher program

The Voucher program is administered by Step up for Students, in theory a non-profit but that does not stop it from paying its top executives hundreds of thousands of dollars.

They take three percent of the money sent to then and last year that amounted to almost 7 million dollars, to cover salaries and other costs. That is money that never sees a classroom.

They have undoubtedly used some of that public money to lobby for more public money and they stand to make more than a million more dollars each of the next few years if the latest voucher proposal passes.

The private schools they send money to do not have to have certified teachers or recognized curriculums. Over 160 schools in Florida that take voucher money teach creationism as science. Most of the voucher money goes to religious schools.

Where Don Geatz the senate president wants to tie public money to some accountability measure, Will Weatherford in the house is insisting those schools that take voucher money be free of accountability measures. Regardless now they want to open up sales taxes to be used for vouchers and increase the vouchers so fairly well off children can get them.

They also violate Florida’s Constitution which says …the education of children to be a fundamental value of the people of Florida; establishes adequate provision for education as a paramount duty of the state; expands constitutional mandate requiring the state to make adequate provision for a uniform system of free public schools by also requiring the state to make adequate provision for an efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system.

The legislature may have tricked some sympathetic judge into saying the tax scholarships don’t violate the constitution and are not really vouchers but we all know the truth.

Finally vouchers may benefit a few children, though kids that take vouchers according to the states own expert don’t experience better education outcomes, they hurt the majority by siphoning much need funds out of resource starved public schools.

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