The Next Irresponsible Expansion of Florida’s McKay Scholarship is Here

Now it won’t matter that a child wasn’t even a student in Florida the year before to qualify.

From the wisdom of Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R-Miami) comes SB 172 which provides:

John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program; Revising the eligibility requirements for the John M. McKay scholarships for students with disabilities program; deleting the requirement that a student must have spent the prior school year in attendance at a Florida public school, etc.which >

Fresh off the McKay Scholarship abuse scandal of 2011, which nobody would have known about had it not been revealed in a disturbing piece of investigative journalism by the Miami New Times, another republican politician has dutifully taken his turn at furthering his voucher agenda with stealth legislation.

The agency head tasked with the responsibility of policing private schools essentially shot the media messenger in a bizarre letter to the Times after the 2011 story was published.  Prior becoming the director of the state’s director of Independent Education and Parental Choice, Michael Kooi,  was the state’s top lobbyist for charter schools.

Kooi’s protest too much protestations weren’t in any way helpful, nor is it certain whether or not the FLDOE has made any effective changes to it’s oversight capabilities. A request was made by Rep. Rick Kriseman (D -St. Petersburg) in December 2011  to do just that.

At any rate, it’s far too soon to expand McKay in any manner – especially one so susceptible to fraud where kids and their parents can conveniently parachute in at the last minute. But Florida’s republican legislators have never displayed  concern for McKay abuse and this is just another legislative spaghetti against the wall scheme they want to stick.  Senator Diaz de la Portilla is obviously among those whom don’t mind such nonsence.


About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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2 Responses to The Next Irresponsible Expansion of Florida’s McKay Scholarship is Here

  1. 3D Learner says:

    This change would offer the greatest benefit to the rich families who get a diagnosis and then send their child to private school at public expense. It is time to say enough Private schools should be an option for parents who want their option and are willing to pay for it.

    • umdr says:

      After exhausting our family financially to get early intervention when our son was diagnosed at the age of 2 with autism and severe apraxia, our son has made tremendous strides. The public school system is NOT equipped to deal with the tremendous disparity of cases of children with disabilities. Why should it matter if my child attends public school for one year or not. My son, now 9, would more than qualify for a McKay scholarship, but has only been in private school…where he flourishes. The public school system would destroy all the hard work we have invested in him. AND his aunt (my sister) is a teacher in the public school and URGES us to keep him in private, as she better than anyone knows what would become of him. Every dollar invested in these children EARLY pays off enormously as they get older. The McKay system isn’t for “rich families”…we are not rich. We have drained our retirement and done everything to give our son a chance. This was an absurd requirement to the law that should never have been put in there in the first place.

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