MIAMI, FLORIDA — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 1, a historic school choice law that provides customized K-12 education for every student in Florida. The new law empowers parents to guide their children’s education by providing an Education Savings Account for every student in the K-12 system.
The bill represents “the largest expansion of education choice, not only in the history of this state, but in the history of these United States,” said Governor DeSantis.
“It expands school choice to every single student in the state of Florida. It’s not just about philosophy – although it certainly involves that – but it’s really about results,” DeSantis added.
This expansion of Florida’s School Choice Scholarships allocates dollars the state has appropriated for each child in the public education system and gives parents the ability to choose among a variety of options to customize their child’s education.
Students with developmental disabilities are given priority and are funded at a higher per-student amount, determined in part by the type of disability and the cost of services the child may need for additional tutoring, therapy, and so on.
“Florida has been a leader in the school choice movement, with more students participating in choice programs than any other state,” said House Speaker Paul Renner. “School choice empowers parents, creates competition, fosters innovation, and raises the level of excellence in all of our schools.”
REDUCES RED TAPE
Senate President Kathleen Passidomo said the law also reduces red tape that has burdened public schools. According to Passidomo, public schools will now have a meaningful chance to compete alongside other school choice options.
“This visionary bill makes school choice a reality for every child in every family across our great state by providing parents the chance to guide how and where the funding for their children’s education is spent,” said Passidomo.
“Universal school choice means that every school has a chance to compete for students, and their parents can decide the best fit.”
“GASLIGHTING” FROM CRITICS
Although HB1 gained bipartisan support in the Legislature, critics – including Senate minority leader Lauren Book (D-Hollywood) – have argued that public school districts would lose funding under the measure. But Renner told The Florida Standard that funding has always followed the child in Florida. Public schools receive funding from the state based on the number of pupils in attendance.
When the bill passed in the Senate, Book wrote on Twitter: “the State of Florida shouldn’t be using taxpayer dollars to fund private school educations for millionaires’ kids.” She was quickly scolded by commentators who called her out for “gaslighting” fellow lawmakers who supported the measure.