Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Expands School Choice to Every Student in Florida

GOP Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed groundbreaking reforms to the state’s education system on Monday, expanding school choice to “every single student in the state.”

According to a news release from the governor’s office, the House Bill 1 legislation eliminates the enrollment cap and financial eligibility restrictions to Florida’s school choice scholarship program.

“Florida is number one when it comes to education freedom and education choice, and today’s bill signing represents the largest expansion of education choice in the history of these United States,” stated DeSantis.

The number of student scholarships had increased from 1% to 3% for students with unique abilities, with scholarships prioritized to students whose household incomes do not surpass 185% of the federal poverty level.

The bureaucracy surrounding teachers’ eligibility has also been adjusted and simplified, with the general knowledge requirement deferred for teachers with three years of experience.

Additionally, the State Board of Education is charged with recommending future proposals to reduce the regulations placed on public schools.

“At the end of the day, we believe that the money should follow the student, and it should be directed based on what the parent thinks is the most appropriate education program for their child,” said the governor at an appearance at Miami’s Christopher Columbus High School.

For the first time, homeschooled students would be eligible to receive voucher funds if they submit to specific testing requirements.

An additional feature is the “education savings accounts,” which allow recipients to use funds to purchase anything beyond private-school tuition.

After the signing, the Florida Education Association condemned the new universal voucher bill, tweeting that it would “drain billions of taxpayer dollars away” from public schools.

“Average Floridians will be helping pay for millionaires and billionaires to send their kids to elite private schools that hand-select their students,” claimed the teachers union. “Once again, we see Gov. DeSantis putting his political ambitions ahead of Floridians, including students.”

DeSantis calls the legislation a “game-changer”

Governor DeSantis called the new legislation a “game-changer” and a “big deal.”

“It expands school choice to every single student in the state of Florida,” said DeSantis. “It does that by eliminating the current financial eligibility restrictions and allowing any student who’s a resident of Florida and eligible to enroll in K-12 to participate in school-choice scholarships.”

The bill-signing ceremony comes amid a stampede of red-state legislation following a student instead of going directly into the local public school district.