Florida is empowering parents to drive quality in public education: Ana Maria Rodriguez

Posted on: April 14, 2020

Last year, researchers at the Urban Institute reported promising news about the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, the biggest private school choice program in America.

The low-income students on scholarship were usually the ones who struggled the most in their prior public schools. The research showed that students who joined the scholarship program were up to 43 percent more likely than their district school peers to enroll in four-year colleges, and up to 20 percent more likely to earn bachelor’s degrees. Those on scholarship four or more years were up to 45 percent more likely to earn bachelor’s degrees.

I highlight these findings in response to persistent falsehoods about the academic outcomes for students using Florida choice scholarships, and about the accountability mechanisms that lead to them. Rep. Javier Fernandez’s recent op-ed in the Miami Herald is a case in point.

Fernandez says Florida’s newest choice scholarship, the Family Empowerment Scholarship, will “hurt public-school students.” He says the data on outcomes is “extremely discouraging.” He says private schools with scholarship students are “not being held to the levels of rigorous accountability that children and their parents deserve.”

I appreciate his passion for public education, which I share. But the facts refute his claims.

To read the rest of this column in the Miami Herald, please click here.

Featured Publication:

Report Card on American Education: 22nd Edition

The status quo is not working. Whether by international comparisons, state and national proficiency measures, civic literacy rates, or career preparedness, American students are falling behind. The 22nd edition of the Report Card on American Education ranks states on their K-12 education and policy performance.

Learn More