New House Voucher Bill Moving

By: Brandon Larrabee News Service of Florida | Posted: March 30, 2014 12:01 AM
Erik Fresen

Rep. Erik Fresen

An attempt to revive a sweeping expansion of the state's de facto voucher system passed a House subcommittee on a party-line vote Friday, setting up a potential showdown with the Senate over school choice legislation.

The House Education Appropriations Subcommittee voted 8-4 to introduce the measure (PCB EDAS 14-03), which would bind together a program aimed at students with disabilities and the voucher expansion. Senate leaders last week pulled their counterpart to the House voucher bill, but the measure for students with disabilities remains alive.

"I wanted to make sure that we gave what I think are two incredibly necessary pieces of legislation the hope of survival in the session," said Rep. Erik Fresen, a Miami Republican who chairs the subcommittee and introduced the bill.

The House move injected legislative brinksmanship to the debate about one of House Speaker Will Weatherford's top priorities. Bills establishing a "Personal Learning Scholarship Account Program," which would reimburse parents for some educational services for children with disabilities, have been moving on both sides of the Capitol.

The Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee is set to hear its version of the personal learning accounts bill (SB 1512) on Wednesday.

But Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, told reporters that he wasn't trying to jam the Senate by attaching the two measures.

"They both give parents choice," he said. "There's a good marriage there. And we think that the Senate will hopefully give another look at the (voucher) issue."

The Florida Education Association, the state's largest teachers' union, ripped the move to combine the two measures during comments at the subcommittee meeting Friday.

"While we have concerns about the personal learning accounts for children with disabilities, I have to say, as a teacher who taught disabled students daily, that this attempt to salvage the expansion of the ... voucher program by attaching it to this bill is disingenuous to the public and those of us who have dedicated our lives to serving disabled students," said FEA Vice President Joanne McCall.

Fresen's new bill drops one of the most controversial elements of the original voucher measure, which would have allowed retailers to funnel some of their sales-tax collections into the program. The system is now funded largely by donations from corporations, which then get credit against corporate-income taxes, insurance-premium taxes and similar charges.

The legislation would still increase a cap on the program's fundraising by $30 million beyond the increase currently allowed in law for the next five years.

The value of each voucher would increase, and middle-class families would qualify for partial scholarships. For example, a family of four earning up to $62,010 a year would be eligible for at least a partial scholarship, a nearly $20,000 boost from the current $43,568 annual income limit.

On Friday, Democrats argued that the overhaul fundamentally changes the nature of the program.

"The core mission was to provide these corporate tax scholarships for low-income families," said Rep. Dwayne Taylor of Daytona Beach, the subcommittee's top Democrat. "It's now deviated from that to families who are able to pay for their private educations."

The reach of the House bill has allowed Democrats to overcome their traditional divisions on the voucher issue. They voted this week to take a caucus position against the bill, largely binding members to oppose the expansion.

Rep. Mark Pafford, a West Palm Beach Democrat who will lead the caucus after the 2014 elections, and two other prominent House Democrats sat in on the meeting Friday despite not being on the subcommittee.

Fresen lashed out at those opposing the bill, saying public money is sent to private organizations for preschool and higher education.

"But somehow, God forbid a public dollar in the K-12 system be utilized by a parent's choice to educate a child that has a specific need or a specific condition or just a specific desire to be outside of the system that was prescribed to it by the public," he said.


Tags: News, Politics

Comments (2)

the facts are
10:31AM MAR 31ST 2014

the problem for Bush is that just about everything he says about the standards is a lie. Common Core is a federally promoted, not state-led, initiative introduced in the Obama administration's 2009 stimulus bill through a competitive grant program called Race to the Top (RTTT). Common Core is a set of unproven and untested uniform standards and aligned curricula and testing that allows for a greater role of government in education, higher levels of social engineering, student data collection, and teacher evaluations based on student performance on assessments.
Much like George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act which has funneled millions into the Bush family pocket’s through IGNITE LEARNING! Owned by Neil Bush, Mom and Pop Bush, junk bond friend Michael Milken, their Saudi Prince friend and a Russian Mafia man.
Common Core Global Communion PART 2
Democratic Engagement-The New Term for Global Citizenship Beginning at Birth Through College
Once the envy of the world, the brightest, most productive, creative, economic power the world has ever known, the United States will fall to its knees. Not because we don’t have smart citizens, because we have indoctrinated citizens who have had heavy doses of psychological manipulation and mastery learning and cooperative education since kindergarten. Remember, Common Core Standards identify Johnny in the classroom, and federal funding, ESEA Title I and IDEA (Special Ed), (HR 5 plus SB 1094), proposed by the Obama administration, the Democratic held Senate, and the Republicans pushing Charter Schools and Choice to individualize educational plans for EACH student, there will no longer be doses of manipulation. It will be constant manipulation by computer programming and Master Teachers, no matter how long it takes. Different models have kids graduating from high school at the age of 19, 20 or older. More indoctrination will be needed before those students are released as global workers, but the indoctrination must begin at birth.
Cradle to Age 21
Remember, it doesn’t matter that your child is smart or has a high IQ…what matters is the right attitudes and values. Benjamin Bloom’s “whole child theory” of teaching, which is challenging the student’s fixed beliefs, includes the affective domain and must be taught from early ages to change American thoughts and values. SB 1094 calls for testing ‘across domains,’ the whole child, values included starting at birth. This is why the Pennsylvania EQA is so important. The test, which was a model for the nation, shows you exactly what is wanted in the future citizen. This is why ACT, who developed Work Keys for career readiness, is creating career tests for Kindergarten. (“Five Year Old Put to the Test as Kindergarten Exams Gain Steam”, by Stepheny Simon, Rueters,9-25-2012.) The earlier, the better, to mold cookie cutter kids ready to bow to the master plan after years of indoctrination. Career training for Kindergarten? Really? This is the “cradle to grave” indoctrination being put in place.
The Obama administration accelerated the trend in 2011 with a $500 million competitive grant to bolster early childhood education. States that pledged to assess all kindergarten kids earned extra points on their application. The Obama administration grant guidelines encouraged states to develop holistic assessments that measure a 5- year olds social, emotional, and physical development as well as their cognitive skills ( the whole child). About a dozen states including Georgia and Maryland have developed such broad assessments according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Now, Obama is proposing paying for pre-school for early detection and molding of attitudes and values. Attitudes and values are NOT so hardened or fixed if caught in early years. Senate Bill 1094 starts funding at birth through age 21.
Lately, the interesting thing about the education establishment is that they are sometimes blatantly saying what they are doing. The public is just not catching on as clearly can be seen in this article, “ACT to Roll Out Career and College Readiness Tests for 3rd-10th Grades” By Caralee Adams on July 2, 2012, Ed Week Oct 9 2012, “The assessment would look beyond academics to get a complete picture of the whole student,” he says ( Jon Erickson, the president of education for ACT, the Iowa City, Iowa-based nonprofit testing company.) “There would be interest inventories for students, as well as assessment of behavioral skills for students and teachers to evaluate.” This statement tells you a lot about the agenda.
Yes, each state is agreeing to the agenda of the Common Core Standards, as well as, all testing that is aligning to the NAEP. Standardization and accountability will be aligned internationally as the Bologna model strives to undermine our colleges and universities with their indoctrination.
Civic Education and Democratic Engagement is being taught in the United States as Global Citizenship-the dismantling of the idea of patriotism, individuality, and greatness in the world. Will American students bite the bait of indoctrination that our country is on the same level as other countries and to merge with other nations? Does the “Occupy” movement understand the implications? Do young voters know the consequence of changing the American concept of freedom? Lets hope so. The goal…acceptance of a global new world order. We are a nation at risk.
9:51AM MAR 31ST 2014
Somebody's got to figure out how to get the tax dollars into the pockets of people like Gary Grappo and those Gulen Charter Schools and other private for-profit schools, many of which are Muslim's training America's youth for the modern world.

Leave a Comment on This Story

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.