Children's Legal Rights Journal


Educational inequities can affect someone's future; school choice is meant to bridge the gap between those that receive a better education and those unable to receive one due to financial hardships to ensure a better future for students. While in numerous occasions school choice is a student's saving grace from a failed system, regulations must be in place to ensure that the people that are being helped by the law are those who need it, not just want it. Florida, following the school choice movement, has introduced the Universal School Choice Bill, which has now been voted in and signed. However, its implementation has gathered criticism, the main one being the possibility of it resulting in diminished funding for public schools.

The Florida Senate Education Committee recently approved the school choice bill to modify K-12 education programs to provide financial support to families. This bill makes all students in the state of Florida eligible to receive state funds for private tuition and other educational cost in the form of vouchers. While the scholarships were originally capped at an income of around $51,000 for a family of four, the Universal School Choice bill removes this cap and allows for any parent to request and receive a scholarship from the state as long as their child is a resident of the state and enrolled in a public school - grades K-12 - in said state. The bill is ultimately meant to provide options to parents to level the playing field. By providing assistance and flexibility, the bill offers parents the opportunity to send their children to private schools or public schools in better districts. For families living in communities with underfunded schools, being granted this assistance, their choice is normally clear - private school. While school choice is greatly beneficial in addressing socioeconomic inequities in school settings, Florida needs to follow other states' leads and set guidelines to address possible negative repercussions of the bill.

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