The Florida Supreme Court has declined to hear a case brought by the teacher’s union which threatened the state’s largest voucher program. The union has been fighting to have the program, which serves nearly 100,000 Florida students, declared unconstitutional.
The program was created in 2001 and signed into law by Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and allows corporations to receive a tax credit in exchange for donating to the voucher program. These vouchers are then passed on to families to spend on the educational option that best fits their needs. For the most part (70%), these families choose religious schools which, the unions argue, is tantamount to the government funding these schools. Bush said in a statement that “It is my hope that opponents of Florida’s efforts to help our most vulnerable students will stop impeding successful reforms and join us in ensuring all students have access to excellent educational options.”
Lorene Walker of Orlando, who has two grandchildren using the program to attend Lion of Judah Academy, was ecstatic, reports the Orlando Sentinel. “Thank God for Florida tax credit scholarships,” she said. “If it was not for them, I don’t know where my granddaughter would be. Maybe left behind a couple of times.” Walker’s granddaughter attended a school that earned D and F grades in the past years, so she is grateful that their right to choose a school has been protected. “Let us make our own choice where we send our kids,” she said. “We have a voice, too.”
School choice advocates took to twitter to express their joy at the decision:
Congrats to the Florida families who have a clear path toward more opportunity due to #SchoolChoice w/ today’s FL Supreme Court decision!
— Betsy DeVos (@BetsyDeVos) January 18, 2017
A big victory for students and parents in FL today! We will continue to strive to make sure ALL students have a CHOICE! https://t.co/DEBnU5oPGG
— Manny Diaz Jr. (@SenMannyDiazJr) January 18, 2017
No better way to celebrate NSCW next week than the end of FEA's lawsuit against FL tax credit scholarship! It's over! Kids win!!
— Sara Clements (@SaraSClements) January 18, 2017
Programs like these truly change lives, which is evident in the story of Denisha Merriweather.