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DeSantis signs universal school choice into law

 March 28, 2023

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) recently took another step in his crusade against leftist educational ideology as he signed a universal school choice bill into law in his state, Fox News reported.

Florida is reportedly the fourth state to make such a move.

What Are Florida's New Universal School Choice Rules?

According to DeSantis' official statement on the legislation, it will eliminate "financial eligibility restrictions and the current enrollment cap."

An official explainer document goes into more detail on the bill's provisions.

As well as changes to enrollment limits and financial eligibility rules, it will also expand the number of available scholarships, change credit requirements for students, and provide for the development of a new online portal for parents.

For teachers, the bill will get rid of the existing general knowledge requirement for teachers who have been "rated effective or highly effective for each of the last 3 years."

The legislation will also increase the length of a temporary teaching certificate to five years from three years.

Furthermore, it will require the State Board of Education to "recommend additional repeals and revisions to the education code to reduce regulation on public schools."

Response to the New Measure

Ron DeSantis was positive about the new legislation, saying it cemented Florida's position as "number one when it comes to education freedom and education choice."

The governor went on to note that "Florida already has 1.3 million students attending a school of their choosing."

Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. was equally pleased with the passage of the measure, stating that it marked a "monumental day in Florida history," reported Fox.

The issue of school choice became a talking point over the last number of years because of pandemic-related lockdowns and curriculum content, Fox reported.

Other States Prioritizing School Choice

EdChoice ranked each American state by their spending on school choice in a blog published in January of this year.

Florida came first, with Wisconsin, Arizona, and Vermont following behind. The study ranked states based on their spending on "instruction, support services, food services, and enterprise operations."

The EdChoice article also noted that the available data "doesn’t back up the claims that public schools will be destroyed or defunded" due to the promotion of school choice.

Republican governors across the country backed universal school choice legislation earlier this year, reported Fox. States leading the charge in this regard have included Arkansas, Utah, and Iowa.

Corey DeAngelis, a representative of the American Federation for Children, told Fox that 2023 could be a "record-breaking year for school choice victories."