2017 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 95%
Education Savings Account
Florida’s Gardiner Scholarship Program provides parents funds to pay for a variety of educational services for their children, including private school tuition, tutoring, online education, curriculum, therapy, textbooks, digital devices, courses at eligible post-secondary educational institutions in Florida, specialized after-school programs, transition services, fees for the annual evaluation of the educational progress of the child, fees for home education programs, and other defined educational services. Students may also purchase services, including part-time courses, from public schools.
This tax-credit scholarship program was enacted in 2001 and serves students from low-income households. The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program is the largest program in terms of student participation.
Florida’s John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program was enacted in 1999, making it the nation’s first school voucher program for students with special needs. The Florida legislature expanded the program in 2000.
Charter Schools Score: 82%
Florida earns a B in the Center for Education Reform’s (CER) new charter school law rankings, putting it in eighth place among all states with charter laws. Florida has no cap on charter schools and charters have a great deal of autonomy. These factors push Florida high in the rankings. However, only schools districts can act as authorizers—a factor that lowers Florida’s grade.
- Fast Facts
- Law Passed in 1996
- Number of Charters: 673
- Estimated Charter Enrollment: 291,200 (Up 3 percent from 2015-16)
- Florida does not cap the the number of charter schools that can be authorized in the state
- Online Charter Schools are permitted and charter schools can contract with EMOs and CMOs, with some regulations
- Florida does not give charter schools per pupil funding for pre-k
- Florida earns 5 out of 15 points for “authorizing.” In Florida, the only entities that are able to authorize charter schools are traditional public school districts that make an appeal to the Board of Education. This practice limits the number, type, and quality of charters in Florida.
- Florida earns a 13 out of 15 for “growth.” While the state provides a fast track to growth for high-performing schools, the process for starting a new charter is onerous and highly regulated. The application process can discourage operators from opening new schools.
- Florida earns16 out of 20 for “operations” because charter schools are exempt from most state statutes and regulations that apply to district schools. However, because charter schools are authorized by districts and rely on them for both funding and charter renewal, charter autonomy can be limited in practice.
- Florida earns a 7.5 out of 15 for “funding equity” because its law states that funding for charter schools follows the same formula used for all other public schools minus administrative fees retained by school boards (five percent for all charters, or two percent for those considered “high-performing”),. The law also entitles charters to categorical funds. In practice, however, these funds are not always distributed equitably. Finally, though the state has appropriated $75 mill ion for per-pupil charter school facilities funding, the funding is limited to charters that meet certain criteria, including: being in operation for at least three years, being accredited, and/or being is an expansion of an existing charter within the same district. This inequitable facilities funding scheme limits charter school growth.
Online Learning Score: 95%
Florida is home to the most online learners than any other state and Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is the nation’s largest public online course provider. Florida has made great strides in creating policies to support online and blended learning earning the second-highest ranking in online learning. During the past legislative session, Florida passed several key pieces of legislation relating to digital learning. Among those, SB 1514 increased flexibility in enrolling in virtual courses, clarified the reporting and funding processes, and supported the study of students’ technology needs.
Teacher Quality Score: 88%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers B+
Expanding the Pool of Teachers B-
Identifying Effective Teachers B+
Retaining Effective Teachers B
Exiting Ineffective Teachers B+