25th 2014
1000s Embrace Florida K-12 Choice: When Can Colorado Kids Win, Too?

Posted under Independence Institute & Parents & Private Schools & Research & School Choice & School Finance & Tax Credits

I hope you haven’t forgotten about helping Colorado Kids Win (including giving the Facebook page a “Like”). After all, it’s been two whole weeks since I’ve reminded you about the benefits of K-12 scholarship tax credits that our state’s kids could really use.

And you know that this particular little kid will use almost any excuse he can to get you speaking out for more school choice right here in the great Centennial State. Take for instance some intriguing news from the nation’s largest (and second oldest) scholarship tax credit program:

Students using school choice scholarships now make up nearly a third of K-12 students in Florida private schools.

As the brief article by Ron Matus of Step Up for Students points out, the 88,192 Florida private school students with choice program financial assistance also incorporates special-needs kids using parent-directed McKay Scholarships. But nearly 60,000 of that total are the low-income kids who get the direct benefit of private donations to a non-profit scholarship organization.

That last part is what we are really focusing on here in Colorado. And apparently in Massachusetts, too! Yesterday the Pioneer Institute released “Giving Kids Credit: Using Scholarship Tax Credits to Increase Educational Opportunity in Massachusetts” by Jason Bedrick and Ken Ardon.

The Cato Institute’s Bedrick (who isn’t new to faithful Ed Is Watching readers) followed up on his blog yesterday to break apart a couple key myths that may be seen as Bay State roadblocks to a type of school choice program that is gaining steam around the nation:

  1. Despite Massachusetts’ strong overall record in academic achievement, he notes there are low-income parts of the state with less impressive results that could benefit more from tax credits. Eligible students would be limited to students below 200 percent of the federal poverty line.
  2. Their research also demonstrates that the state’s sky-high average private school tuition — out of reach to poorer kids even with significant scholarship aid — is “skewed by the presence of numerous expensive boarding schools,” and that local tuition rates are much more reasonable.

But the kicker is Professor Ardon’s fiscal analysis. He shows, even more clearly and effectively than my Education Policy Center friends have done, how the state treasury saves money with each new participating scholarship student. Remember? It’s part of the Win-Win-Win results.

Taken altogether, this thoughtful report ought to make New Englanders stop and give the idea some serious thought. And then they can call their friends and loved ones in Colorado and urge them to get behind scholarship tax credits, too! Right?

Our states could be the Florida of tomorrow. What do I mean? Someday, a future Eddie may be writing about how large numbers of private school students in Massachusetts and Colorado are getting tax credit scholarship aid. And even more importantly, I look forward to seeing signs that these current and future kids exercising educational choice are headed for a brighter tomorrow!


5 Responses to “1000s Embrace Florida K-12 Choice: When Can Colorado Kids Win, Too?”

  1. Diane Hanfmann on 27 Jul 2014 at 12:19 am #

    Just curious why you would want other states to follow Florida. Have you missed the NAEP study of Seniors a few years ago where Florida was one of three states to fall below average in both Reading and Math? HMMM… if Jeb’s strategies were so amazing (to him), how could that be? The Seniors were sadly exposed to Jeb’s bullpucky for many years.
    Also a few years ago, Florida’s charter schools comprised a very small part of the school supply but a gigantic portion of the F schools. May I clarify that I place about no value on the school grade bullpucky but I suppose you do so I provide you with that fact.
    I am also curious how you forgot that Florida’s Writing proficiency rate went from 70 to 30 and then the 30 was then raised back to 70 a few days later after a phone conference a few years ago.
    I wonder if you forgot that Pearson is or was under investigation for trips with FLDOE staff.
    Florida is also a state with a pending lawsuit with the concern being its lack of making education a priority.
    Perhaps it behooves one to live in Florida to write about its education scene rather than rely on political folks’ words.

  2. Diane Hanfmann on 27 Jul 2014 at 12:39 am #


    If my eyes served me well, Florida ranked 38/50 states in child’s well being. This would be the bottom quarter. Florida ranked 45/50 states in child economic well being. This would be in the bottom tenth. Education there was ranked 27/50 , falling in the bottom half and likely aided by the grade 4 proficiency rate factor, which is no miracle since you can stay in grade 3 up to 3 times before you are placed in grade 4 Florida, then ranked 37/50 states for health, the bottom third, and 35/50 states for family and community.

  3. Eddie on 29 Jul 2014 at 11:14 am #

    1. Who knew that tax credit scholarships were responsible for so many terrible things?
    2. Why do so many families want to take advantage of the tax credit scholarships?
    3. Why do many education observers who live in Florida disagree with you? (And what is really accomplished by counting the heads on one side or the other of any particular issue?)
    4. Why do you assail “political folks’ words” after basing complaints on political associations and rhetoric?

  4. Diane Hanfmann on 29 Jul 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    You titled the post with the idea that Florida students have won something.I posted to show the unpresented info which rarely, if ever, makes the blogs of folks like you. While I have about zero belief in the school grades system of Florida, I know you must find it amazing so I wonder how the charters creating so many Fs relative to their percentage of schools would be a win for those who choose them. I am also amazed why you forgot to note that many schools of choice are free of any accountability so I guess your “concern” is only for children in public schools.
    Why do so many families take advantage of the tax credit scholarship? Hmm…what percentage would that be?The same folks who wanted parent trigger and never showed up? I can guess parents may tire of the endless testing, use of high stake despite research showing this does nothing to raise achievements, and as a means of escaping the ill effects of mandatory retention that Jeb paced on the schools. I advise you to note the inconsistency when you question the use of numbers in your question 3 when you use he term many in both 2 and 3. That is only a noting of your inconsistency and I like numbers. I see Jeb’s two FB foundations combined , ironically FFFF and FFEIE, have less than 5,000 combined and perhaps even less than 4,000. Opposition groups within the state from years ago still have likely twenty times that.
    That is the beauty of numbers. It shows a hijacking of democracy when the minority wins and it shows the power of the secretive ALEC.
    Thanks for the chuckle as you mentioned education observers who disagree with me. Your talking heads are poli sci majors or public relations folks..they may observe education because they lack the knowledge to do more so but that doesn’t stop them. How about Rhee being replaced by a media person??I haven’t heard this non education person taped any mouths of chidren shut…but didn’t I hear about her husband’s ties to the profiteering gravy train? $F Florida is saying adios to Florida..will they be back when ALEC needs them?
    I can’t give you too much grief as you are only five years old.

  5. Diane Hanfmann on 30 Jul 2014 at 12:06 pm #


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