Gradebook podcast: Is private education public when taxpayers fund it? An expert’s view

Prof. Bruce Baker of Rutgers says it’s not quite that simple.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announces his proposal to spend millions in state tax funds to eliminate a waiting list for tax-credit scholarships, while at Calvary Christian Academy in Orlando on Feb. 15, 2019. [WKMG live screen grab]
Gov. Ron DeSantis announces his proposal to spend millions in state tax funds to eliminate a waiting list for tax-credit scholarships, while at Calvary Christian Academy in Orlando on Feb. 15, 2019. [WKMG live screen grab]
Published February 21
Updated February 21

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to spend state tax money to help families send their children to private schools.

In the past, the state’s courts have ruled vouchers unconstitutional, driving the creation of a court-accepted tax-credit scholarship program instead. As that program has blossomed to the size of a major school district, with demand on the rise and studies indicating its success, DeSantis aims to blow up the distinction between scholarships and vouchers.

“If the taxpayer is paying,” he said, “it’s public education.”

But is it, really?

We turn to Rutgers University education professor Bruce Baker, author of the School Finance 101 blog and a leading national expert on education finance, to dissect DeSantis’ simple, appealing yet controversial statement.

Related coverage: Gov. Ron DeSantis unveils plan to expand state money for private school tuition

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