School Choice In Florida

Learn the Facts

As a state-approved nonprofit that helps administer K-12 scholarships, Step Up For Students has a bird’s eye view on education choice in Florida; the students, families, schools, regulations, test results, academic research, the politics and sometimes contentious claims that miss the mark.
Study Hall Scholarship Students
 

More Choices. Better Outcomes.

Explore how school choice is making a difference in Florida.
Myth

Private schools are subject to zero accountability.

Fact

Private schools face more accountability than public schools.

Florida devotes more than 12,000 words of regulations governing its Tax Credit Scholarship. Read more here. Meanwhile, parents who are dissatisfied with their private schools can vote with their feet and take their scholarship students elsewhere. That represents the most immediate and direct form of accountability: If the schools can’t deliver, they lose students and the money that follows them.

Myth

Education choice scholarships hurt public schools academically.

Fact

Florida public schools are performing better than ever.

By some key measures, Florida schools are now among the best in America. Education Week now ranks Florida No. 3 in K-12 Achievement, its highest ranking ever after more than a decade in or near the national Top 10. (Source: Education Week’s Quality Counts report.) Florida students now rank No. 2 in percentage of graduating seniors who’ve passed college-caliber Advanced Placement exams. (Source: College Board.) Florida’s graduation rate now stands at 90 percent, up from 52 percent in 1999. (Source: Florida Department of Education, here and here.) A 2020 report from the National Bureau for Economic Research found competitive effects of Florida’s biggest school choice scholarship program, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship for lower-income students, led to higher test scores, fewer suspensions and less absenteeism in public schools. (Source: NBER.)

Myth

Education choice scholarships are hurting public schools financially.

Fact

There is zero evidence of that, and a stack of evidence to the contrary.

To date, eight different independent fiscal impact studies have concluded the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship for lower-income students – Florida’s biggest scholarship programs, serving about 100,000 students each year – saves taxpayer money that can be re-invested in public schools. Not a single study shows otherwise. That’s because the value of the scholarship is far less than what taxpayers spend per student in district schools.  EdChoice has tallied 55 fiscal impact studies on choice scholarships. Forty-nine found savings for taxpayers. Two found net costs.

Myth

Scholarships fail students.

Fact

Scholarship students have positive outcomes.

For 12 consecutive years, FTC students – who are among the most economically disadvantaged and lowest-performing students in public schools – have achieved the same solid test score gains in reading and math as students of all income levels n‍‍‍ationally. For more, click here. More importantly, a report released in 2019 by the Urban Institute found students using the scholarship are up to 43 percent more likely to enroll in four-year colleges than their peers in public schools, and up to 20 percent more likely to earn bachelor’s degrees. Students who use the scholarship four or more years are up to 45 percent more likely to earn bachelor’s degrees.

Study Hall
Copyright 2021. All rights reserved.