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Office of Independent Education & Parental Choice

Office of Independent Education & Parental Choice

 Office of Independent Education & Parental Choice 

School Choice Fast Facts

Florida School Choice | Fast Facts

Florida is Leading the Nation in School Choice Options

  • Florida’s A+ Education Plan was the impetus for policies and programs that thrust Florida into the spotlight as a national leader in providing parents and students with a wide array of school choice options directed to meet individual learning needs and styles, including:
  • The number of families and students taking advantage of school choice options is steadily increasing each school year
  • An independent study conducted by Harvard researchers found that key provisions of Florida’s A+ Accountability Plan were more effective than provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) at leveraging student achievement gains. The findings released in 2005 show that Florida’s fourth and fifth grade students make modest but significant gains in reading and math if their school is at risk of becoming a part of the state’s scholarship program. Schools at risk of being subject to the public-school choice provisions of NCLB showed no gains.
  • The Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation released, in March 2004, a scorecard rating school choice programs around the nation, and the report rated Florida’s McKay program first and the Opportunity Scholarship program sixth. The McKay program received a perfect score on five of the seven criteria.
  • A study of Florida’s school choice programs released in 2004 reported that between the 2001-2002 and 2003-2004 school years, “voucher-eligible schools” (schools where students could transfer out) improved more than other public schools. Using FCAT scores as their measure, Manhattan Institute researchers found that voucher-eligible schools improved by 15.1 scaled score points more in mathematics than other public schools.

Enacting Strong Legislation

  • Florida has enacted groundbreaking legislation to support scholarship programs and virtual education.
  • Florida’s charter school law is currently ranked as the eighth strongest in the nation.

Building an Infrastructure to Support School Choice

  • The Department of Education has created an interactive scholarship database for parents, districts, and private schools to support scholarship registration, documentation of eligibility, participation, and payment.
  • A new private school scholarship accountability system has been initiated that includes a scholarship compliance form and online annual survey of private schools.
  • Accountability mechanisms and reporting for all school choice programs are being strengthened.