Thousands of school-choice advocates in Tallahassee: 'Drop the suit'
Several thousand parents and children rallied in Florida’s capital on Tuesday to urge the state’s largest teachers union to drop a lawsuit challenging a controversial voucher-like education program that benefits low-income families.
Martin Luther King III joined several religious and community leaders in praising the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, which they say affords opportunities many families wouldn’t otherwise have, and they urged the Florida Education Association to end its “misguided” effort to halt the program.
Critics — led by the FEA — argue the tax-credit scholarships divert state money away from a quality public education system the state is required, under the Constitution, to provide.
The 15-year-old state program helps low-income families afford to send their children to private schools by giving dollar-for-dollar tax credits — as much as $447 million this year, growing to $560 million in 2016-17 — to businesses that donate to organizations that fund the scholarships. Almost all of the scholarship money is facilitated by Jacksonville-based Step Up For Students.
“This is about justice; this is about righteousness,” said King, eldest son of the late civil rights leader whose namesake annual federal holiday was Monday. “This is about freedom — the freedom to choose for your family and your child.”