ERIC Number: EJ875707
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar-3
Reference Count: N/A
Vouchers Draw Bipartisan Look
Maxwell, Lesli A.
Education Week, v29 n23 p1, 21 Mar 2010
The momentum in Florida to expand one of that state's voucher programs is a subtle but significant sign that such programs, which have been anathema to many Democrats, are beginning to win bipartisan support in a number of states. State lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in Florida are already voicing support for new legislation that would increase the value of the state's tax-credit vouchers, which are funded by private corporations that, in exchange for their contributions, receive dollar-for-dollar tax credits. The legislation in Florida--a state that has done more than any other to provide publicly funded vouchers that can be used to pay tuition at private schools--comes as a similar measure has been introduced in Illinois, and as school choice advocates see promising signs in somewhat unexpected jurisdictions such as New Jersey. Democratic support for such programs has been based mainly in urban black and Latino communities. Significant opposition to vouchers remains in Florida--chiefly from the Florida Education Association--but a growing number of Democrats in the Republican-dominated legislature and around the state have begun to shed their opposition to the usually politically polarizing issue. It's a remarkable political shift in Florida, where few, if any, Democrats backed three separate voucher programs, including the tax-credit vouchers, when they were launched by then-Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican. The state's original program, which provided vouchers to students who attended low-performing public schools, was struck down as unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court in 2006. Forty percent of the families enrolled in Florida's tax-credit voucher program are African-American, while 25 percent are Latino. In the earlier years of the program, Democratic lawmakers who represent most of those families opposed any kind of public funding of private school vouchers. One key to changing minds was the testimony of poor parents whose children have received vouchers.
Descriptors: Private Schools, Tax Credits, School Choice, Credits, Corporations, Educational Vouchers, Political Attitudes, Educational Legislation, Politics of Education, African American Students, Hispanic American Students, Educational Finance
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida