Family Empowerment Scholarship

podcastED: Formerly homeless family finds a lifeline in education choice scholarships

On this episode, reimaginED senior writer Lisa Buie talks with Juliette Harrell, an Orlando, Florida, mother of three children, two of whom attend private school thanks to the Family Empowerment Scholarship Economic Options program. Lacking education in financial literacy, Harrell and her husband, Allen, experienced homelessness as teenage parents. Their[Read More…]

Word for Word: Mom Melissa Demain on finding the best fit for her daughter

Editor’s note: This Palm Coast, Florida, mom was happy with the school her daughter, Abby, attended with assistance from a Florida Tax Credit Scholarship. Then Abby, who had been diagnosed with a special need at age 3, became a teenager and started to struggle. Demain once again found herself seeking[Read More…]

State officials expand school choice scholarship eligibility to families in military reserves

More military families will be able to qualify for state K-12 education choice scholarships due to a rule change approved today by the Florida Board of Education. The rule was made in response to the passage of HB 7045, which expanded scholarship eligibility to dependents of active duty military families.[Read More…]

Scholarship eligibility expanding as applications rise

More than 204,000 students already have applied for Florida private school scholarships for the 2021-22 academic year, up 34% from the same time last year. That amount may surge as new, expanded eligibility requirements take effect today. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 7045 into law May 11; the change became[Read More…]

Study details change in Gardiner families’ spending patterns

The longer students remain on Florida’s Gardiner Scholarship program, the more likely their parents are to spend money on curriculum, tutoring and specialized services, a new working paper finds. The study, “Distribution of Education Savings Accounts Usage Among Families,” by Michelle Lofton of the University of Georgia and Martin Lueken[Read More…]

podcastED: redefinED interview with military spouse, scholarship mom Jessica Bianchi

On this episode, redefinED senior writer Lisa Buie speaks with Jessica Bianchi, whose husband, Juan Santana, is a chief petty officer in the Navy and stationed in Jacksonville. Their son, Jan, is a rising freshman on a Gardiner Scholarship at Morning Star School, and their daughter, Gia, attends Christ the[Read More…]

Commentary: Flexibility in education will help families like mine

Editor’s note: This commentary from Patrice Whitfield of Jacksonville explains how her three younger children have benefited from state scholarship programs – and how her three older children could have benefited had the scholarship been available sooner. As a mother of six, I’ve seen my share of struggles, especially when[Read More…]

Commentary: More parents should have the learning options we have

Editor’s note: This piece from Stephanie Conner, who lives in LaBelle, Florida, first published in the Naples Daily News. My 14-year-old son Eli has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and other development delays, and he communicates mostly through sign language. A few years ago, he was anxious and struggling in[Read More…]