Record Number of Florida Parents Apply for School Choice Scholarship

Record Number of Florida Parents Apply for School Choice Scholarship

Chris Nelson
Chris Nelson
|
August 18, 2023

Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that nearly 430,000 applications have been received from students for a scholarship under the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and the Family Empowerment Scholarship. This represents an increase over last year’s enrollment of nearly 250,000 students.

“With our historic move to universal school choice, families in record numbers are choosing the best educational options for their children,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I am proud of the work we have done so far, but we’re far from done—we will continue to empower parents and expand opportunities so that our students receive the best possible education.”

Earlier this year, DeSantis signed HB 1, which expanded school choice in the state of Florida. This means parents can opt-out of sending their children to public schools and receive money from the State to send them to another school of their choice. The new law provides funds for tuition and fees at a participating private school, as well as curriculum and related materials and other contracted services, or transportation to a Florida public school other than the student’s assigned school. Parents have decided to take advantage of the scholarships in record numbers.

Florida parent Elon Gerberg and his wife took advantage of the school choice scholarship, opting to pull their children out of public school in South Florida and send them to a private school more aligned with their values.

"I pulled both my children and now have gotten $16,000 in scholarships to use toward private school where security and the quality of education is far superior," Gerberg told the Floridian.

Gerberg pointed to statistics that show less than 40% of students in public schools in the state of Florida can read, write and do math proficiently for their grade.

"Under the previous system, schools had no incentive to perform better," said Gerberg. "Now parents are able to utilize the scholarship in order to get their children a more robust education."

“All parents want their children to receive a high-quality education and our historic expansion of school choice scholarships will allow students to have the best chance of academic success,” said Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, Florida is a national model for school choice, and I am proud our parents have the opportunity to choose life-changing educational options that foster student success.”

“House Bill 1 unlocks School Choice for every student in Florida," said Speaker of the House Paul Renner. "Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ signature and commitment to empowering parents, Florida has the largest expansion of School Choice in the nation, allowing every student, regardless of race, income, background, or zip code to customize their education to fit their unique needs."

According to The Florida Department of Education, they will continue to provide support to approved scholarship funding organizations in processing the record number of scholarship applications.

"Hopefully public school systems will start prioritizing fundamental education, otherwise the exile is going to continue," said Gerberg.

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Chris Nelson

Chris Nelson

Chris Nelson is a videographer and investigative reporter based in Fort Lauderdale. Chris covers breaking news, and local and state politics, and focuses on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. His work has been cited on Fox News and Epoch Times.

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