Dereliction of Duty

Conclusion—Funding the Wrong Priorities

Evidence from other cities implementing voucher programs, and from Florida itself, shows that voucher and tuition tax credit programs are poor public policy that drain public tax dollars with no accountability or proven results.

Additionally, despite state laws prohibiting taxpayer funding to homeschools, Florida has provided two cyber schools with multi-million dollar grants, and has also allowed hundreds (if not thousands) of students to take state-funded vouchers to be homeschooled. While homeschools and private voucher schools in Florida operate with virtually no oversight or accountability, the state’s rules for public schools are much more stringent. Student and school performance have harsh penalties for failure. While student enrollment, school funding and even graduation are all affected by the state’s accountability provisions for public schools, the state has repeatedly refused to adequately fund public education or school improvement efforts like smaller class sizes.

Governor Bush’s administration has stated time after time that the state’s education system is a great success, exclaiming that Florida is “engaged in the world’s most far-reaching reform movement.”90 The state is in fact changing its education system, but its priorities are all wrong. The state has blazed a destructive path that hands organizations and private schools millions of dollars with virtually no accountability, while short-changing the vast majority of the state’s students who depend on public schools and public education.

It is a shameful education policy that threatens to destroy public education in Florida. Rather than working to ensure that all children in the state get the education and support they need to become productive citizens, Florida has instead chosen to invest in only a select few, leaving most children behind, contrary to the will of its people and the requirements of its constitution.

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