Florida leads the nation in giving people what they want in education: school choice.
This is National School Choice Week and a good time to ponder the change.
Just 30 years ago, the only options for parents not satisfied with government schools were private schools, charter schools or homeschooling.
Then. Jeb Bush was elected governor of Florida and he pushed for more options. Tampa businessman John Kirtley was advocating something called tax scholarships and Bush supported those, along with other forms of vouchers, all designed to free mostly black poor children from failing government schools.
2023 was a transformative year for education, according to EdChoice.
It also was a blockbuster year for the Florida Legislature and one of its many accomplishments was to expand school choice substantially.
Today 36 percent of children in America have school choice and seven out of 10 Americans support the concept. Most of the opposition is centered in the Democrat Party, which is beholden to the powerful teacher union bosses.
Ten states now make school choice available to all or nearly all students within their borders. Florida is No. 1.
Here is a comparison in percentages, based on most recent data:
Choice Programs Share
|Other Private School Share
|Traditional Public School Share
|Magnet School Share
|Public Charter School Share
It hasn’t been easy. Reformers call the government school programs The Blob because it grows incessantly and is highly resistant to change. But change has happened despite the resistance and with any luck will continue.