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Friday, July 20, 2018

Florida's school voucher programs harm students

Here are some facts about Florida's voucher program:

Vouchers siphon over a billion annually away from public schools.

Teachers at voucher schools don't have to have degrees, be certified and can have serious criminal records. 

They don't have to have a recognized curriculum and many teach junk science an false history.

Most of them don't have to report how they spend the money they receive. 

There is zero academic accountability that the state requires for public schools.

John Kirtley Florida's voucher king, is also a major donor to republican candidates for which he has been greatly rewarded. 

Now there is evidence that students who receive the vouchers are harmed by them.

From UVAToday:

new study from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education finds that low-income children or children enrolled in urban schools do not benefit more from enrolling in private school between kindergarten and ninth grade.

“Despite the arguments in favor of the use of vouchers or other mechanisms to support enrollment in private schools, ostensibly as a way to help vulnerable children and families access a quality education, this study finds no evidence that private schools, exclusive of family background or income, are more effective for promoting student success,” said Robert C. Pianta, dean of the Curry School of Education and co-author of the study.

Although children with a history of enrollment in private schools performed better overall, the advantages of private school education were not present for low-income students or those enrolled in urban schools.

This study contradicts the rationale behind U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ efforts to promote greater access to private schools, primarily through the administration’s earmark of more than $1 billion in the federal budget for private school vouchers and other school choice plans.

“The assumption that private schools are more effective in educating students and producing higher levels of achievement behavior is demonstrably ineffective and potentially harmful,” Pianta said. “In order to enable more low-income students to succeed and close achievement gaps, we must support comprehensive education reform of our public school system.”

Our there some private schools that accept vouchers that  do a good job? The truth is I and nobody knows because there is zero accountability. 

Friends, what are we doing, other than dooming a large swathe of children to a substandard education in order to placate republican super donors?

And for you fiscal conservatives isn't it time we either made sure the money was well spent or we ended the program?

Come on friends, we should be doing much better than this and our children deserve it.


  1. I can tell you I know my daughter was failed by the public school system in Florida. They failed the #1 Child Find mandate. #2 failed to provide adequate reading intervention to address her area of concern even after failing the FCAT x 4 years. Never provided her with IEP or even evaluate her for an IEP or appropriate accommodations. For HS I used the McKay Scholarship to a private school which agreed to provided the accommodations she needed. She is now at the best University in the state with a Bright Futures Scholarship. Now they have done the same with my second daughter with the same diagnosis. Fought the district to provided what she needed. They still refused, brought it to Due Process now waiting on a judge to decide. Will use a McKay Scholarship again for high school. She can wait no longer for the public school to educate her. This is why we use the voucher program in Florida. The public schools have no accountability. Do you really think 1 administrator cares that we are leaving using the McKay Scholarship voucher ? Nope they are glad to get rid of me.

    1. I don't know your circumstances so I can't comment about what you wrote one way or another. I can say, do sometimes public schools drop the ball? Sure, are their private schools that take vouchers that do it right, again sure. But if you are betting the odds and the future of the state, then its public schools all the time and just so you know public schools have accountability on steroids.