Thursday, July 11, 2013
The number of students enrolled in Florida's voucher program grew by a stunning 27 percent this year. A new state department of education report on the program indicates:
In 2012-2013, Step Up For Students awarded a total of approximately $207 million in FTC scholarships to 51,075 students enrolled in 1,338 participating Florida private schools. The 51,075 students in 2012-2013 is an increase of 10,827 students over the 2011-2012 student total of 40,248 as reported in the June 2012 FTC Quarterly Report. This represents an enrollment increase of 27%. The 1,338 private schools participating in 2012-2013 represent an increase of 10% from the 1,216 private schools that participated during the 2011-2012 school year.
The growth appears to be a result not of students leaving the public school system, but of students who never entered the public school system. "Students enrolled in Kindergarten through Grade 3 make up approximately 53% of the scholarship recipients." The racial and ethnic participants in the program are 33 percent African-American students, 35 percent Hispanic students, 25 percent white and 7 percent other. Religious schools make up 82.5 percent of the voucher school recipients. All of these are interesting numbers given that the state supreme court in Bush v. Holmes, 919 So. 2d 392 (Fla. 2006), had struck down a previous verion of the state's voucher program as violating the state's constitutional duty to deliver a uniform and adequate public school system.
For more commentary on the report, see here.