What did Florida’s Supreme Court decide? It only decided not to decide. The issue brought forward related to legal standing for the case. The Supreme Court agreed with the Appeal and Circuit Court decisions that taxes owed by corporations could be diverted to private school scholarships. In a way it is like saying that charitable contributions are tax deductible.
What the Court did not decide was whether or not the education these children receive is high quality. The Court decided not to decide.
The State does not look too closely at that issue. They do not require these private schools to have certified teachers. They do not look at the quality of the curriculum. They do not measure student gains and award school grades as they do for public schools. They do not even award the same amount of money per student.
Studies comparing private and public school performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress indicate that how well students perform depends in part on which type of private school children attend. Achievement adjusted by the type of private school: Catholic, Lutheran, Conservative Christian, and non sectarian disappears for fourth grade reading and eighth grade math. Non sectarian private schools do best and conservative Christian schools do least well. One type is very expensive and the other is not. Giving access to high quality private schools does not mean that families can afford them even with FTC scholarships.
The Public School Advantage published by University of Illinois faculty members reports that public school students actually outperform private school students in mathematics. The data were adjusted for differences in student demographics and were based on test results from 15,108 public, charter and private schools.
All the hype about which students do best in which schools is mostly noise. The U.S. has children who perform as well or better than those in any other country. We also have children who do poorly in comparison. Choice is not getting us any where. Back to the slogans:
CHOICE IS A DISTRACTION. Education policy should focus like a laser on student learning not on intimidating students and teachers.