Fifteen years almost to day since the Florida Senate passed the Jeb Bush pet project A+ plan that brought public funding of private schools into our state, the Senate today passed the largest expansion of vouchers in the state’s history. Unlike the Florida House, where Democrats stuck together despite an aggressive lobbying effort by voucher proponents and Republican legislators, in the Senate three Democrats abandoned public schools today.
Senators Jeremy Ring, Gwen Margolis and Darren Soto all crossed over and backed SB 1512 which passed 29-11. We’ve devoted much of our space during this session to this issue, walking through the history of failures related to voucher programs, the manufactured campaigns brought forward by voucher supporters, and the misrepresentation of just about every performance based measure related to this issue.
It is with a heavy heart that we witnessed today’s capitulation of three Senate Democrats and great opportunity that was squandered to protect public education in the state of Florida. Unlike other states where many Republicans have given up with experimentation with public money for private institutions, Florida continues to race forward with reckless voucher programs at a brisk pace.
We certainly hope that the voters of the state will consider this issue strongly when casting ballots in upcoming elections.