Watchdog organization Americans For Prosperity-Florida (AFP-FL) released a state-wide ad in Florida, bringing attention to and lauding Florida Governor's Ron DeSantis's school choice initiative.
Signed into law on May 11, HB 7045 has the effect of furthering the school choice movement by largely broadening state programs that already exist. The Hope Scholarship Program, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, and the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program had their voucher amounts increased from 95% to 100%. Further, in regards to the Family Empowerment Scholarship, a family of four who earns under $100,000 per year would now also become eligible for said program. AFP-FL also asserts that,
creating alternative avenues for charter schools to be sponsored in Florida through state universities and Florida college system institutions allows our state to develop additional school options and ensure more personalized education experiences for students who have different talents and needs.
What the school choice movement is advocating is the simple reallocation of government resources to enable parents to be the primary decision-makers regarding children's education, not geographical location. Mark Levin outlined in his best-seller, Liberty and Tyranny, the importance of freedom of mobility to the American conservative. The freedom to move or stay allows the individual/citizen to express his or her pursuit of that which motivates him or her. How could this be controversial?
American statists, however, propose the restrictions that are placed on family heads that, in effect, place barriers around individuals, preventing them from seeking opportunities that are outside of their zip code in regards to education.
These school vouchers may be used on public options or private options. Opponents of the bill say that school choice violates church-and-state interpretations of the Constitution; because the money follows the student; and the student may select a non-government school, including one owned by a Christian organization. Furthermore, schools that out-perform other schools may grow; and underperforming options might shrink or "close up shop" (as they say in the business world.) Such arguments, advocates point out, often don't focus on the student, which should always be the focus of education.
HB 7045 takes effect July 1, 2021.
Below is AFP-FL's advocating video playing now in the state.
The Hope Scholarship is for students in grades kindergarten through 12 who are enrolled in a Florida public school and have been bullied, harassed, assaulted, threatened and or other violent acts to transfer to another public school or enroll in an approved private school.
"The ad argues DeSantis prioritized students by creating individualized educational options and giving students more freedom."