FL Tax Credits Save Millions; Common Core Becomes Utah Elections Topic; FL Charter Students Outperform Peers
Tax-Credit Scholarships to Save Florida Taxpayers $58 Million Next School Year
The research office of the Florida Legislature released an estimate saying tax credit scholarships for low-income families will save the state $57.9 million in the 2012-2013 school year.
Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed House Bill 859 into law to expand the program by increasing its tax credit cap from $140 million to $229 million and allowing students to receive a scholarship if their family earns up to 230 percent of the federal poverty level. That’s $53,015 per year for a family of four.
The estimate is only the latest in a series of reports and evaluations demonstrating state savings from the tax credit, since each pupil in public school costs more tax dollars than the revenue lost by allowing the credit.
The bill also tightened accountability provisions allowing the state Department of Education more visits in private schools that accept the scholarships following a scandal that showed a few private schools taking vouchers but failing to educate students.
Common Core Becomes Utah Election Controversy
Controversy around the Common Core standards has become an election issue in Utah’s gubernatorial race, bolstered by a flyer challenging the standards sent anonymously to state and local officials.
Utah, South Carolina, and Texas are among the states which have recently experienced controversy over the standards, requirements for what children should know in each grade. Forty-five states have adopted the Core, which the Obama administration has required for Race to the Top grants and No Child Left Behind waivers.
The pamphlet was distributed to more than 4,000 state Republican delegates and thousands more convention-goers, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. It charges the standards are federally imposed, heavily influenced by special interests, and likely to nationalize education. Nearly 1,500 Utahans have signed a petition asking the state to repeal the Core.
Florida Charter Students Outperform Peers
The Florida Department of Education released a report revealing charter school students outperformed their peers in district school in 50 of 54 proficiency comparisons. The report compared grade groupings and performance by subgroups on state tests.
In 16 out of 18 comparisons between white and minority students on state exams, the achievement gap was smaller for charter students. Charter students also had higher average learning gains in 79 of 96 comparisons.
“This report clearly demonstrates that charter schools are a viable option for parents,” Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson said.
Image by WoodleyWonderWorks.