A Message from Governor Scott
Yesterday, Ann and I visited three schools to share good news for Florida’s students. Thanks to the education reforms we achieved this year, we are expanding and strengthening charter and virtual schools and increasing scholarship opportunities that empower parents to choose the schools best suited to their students’ needs.
First, I visited with student, parents and school leaders at Hope Charter School in Ocoee, outside Orlando. Later I stopped by St. Petersburg Christian School and another charter school in North Lauderdale, the North Broward Academy of Excellence.
Legislation passed this year gives our best charter schools the opportunity to grow to serve more students. Charter schools can also expand by using technology, either through online instruction or combined with traditional classroom instruction.
In addition, the Florida Virtual School will be available to more students. K-12 students can use virtual instruction full-time, and grades 4-12 can use it part-time. District virtual schools will also be available.
Children should not be locked into going to a failing school just because of where they live, and families should have the right to choose an education best suited to their children. In addition to charter and virtual schools, three scholarship programs will also open doors for students.
Opportunity Scholarships allow students at chronically low-performing schools to choose a better school. We have redefined what makes a failing school, so more students and their parents will be empowered to choose a better school – and with it – a better future.
More students with disabilities and special learning needs will be eligible for McKay Scholarships to use at private schools, and we have also updated the tax credit scholarship program to help encourage more businesses to participate in the program, thereby helping more students attend a better school.
These education reforms are in addition to the Student Success Act, which I am proud was the first bill I signed into law. It allows Florida to recruit and retain the best educators and make sure every classroom in our state has a highly effective teacher.
The education of our young people is an important part of turning our economy around and making Florida the No. 1 state for job creation. We must make sure our state has world-class schools so that our students graduate with the skills and talent they need to work in our 21st century economy.
Florida is putting children first, and by doing so, we are building an education system that secures the future for Florida’s students.