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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Let the money follow the students, Bush foundation scholar proposes



The idea of education savings accounts, which Gov. Rick Scott proposed even before his inauguration, is getting a new airing courtesy of a senior policy advisor at Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education.

Matthew Ladner tells the Redefined blog that he sees the concept, in which parents get a set amount of education money to use as they see fit, as the logical next step in Florida's move to increased school choice options.

“We we like to say that ESAs are sort of school choice and parental control over education down to the last penny,” Ladner said in a podcast interview with the blog, which is a part of the corporate tax credit scholarship organization Step Up for Students. “What we really want to do is allow parents to customize the education for their child. Education shouldn’t be necessarily an all or nothing proposition – you’re either attending this school or that school. In fact, the whole definition of what a school is is being fairly rapidly changed by technology.”

Two years ago, ESA's got a hearing in the state Senate, but gained no traction in the House in the committee led by now-Speaker Will Weatherford.

Weatherford did not dismiss the concept out of hand, but said it needed more time to become viable. 

With the Bush foundation reintroducing the idea, and incoming commissioner (and voucher proponent) Tony Bennett stating he believes in funding of education rather than schools, the time might be upon Florida for a renewed debate, perhaps with different results. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 10:46am]


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