Simon hoping to expand school choice options

Photo of Kate Sullivan School courtesy: Brendan Brown

Monica Aviles and Alesha Waller are Leon County parent’s who home-school their children. Both extoll the benefits of home-schooling.

“For us home-schooling is a way of life,” Aviles said.

Aviles believes that education isn’t about the subject matter; rather, it is about teaching the child about life experiences altogether. The child’s growth is what matters the most to her.

“We really enjoy home-schooling simply for the fact we get to spend a lot of our time with our kids,” Waller said.

Waller enjoys having control over what her children are learning. It benefits her children and she believes they are learning way more through a home-schooling setting rather than a public school.

In Florida, Senate Bill 202  —- K-12 Education — has been introduced by Senator Corey Simon, R-Tallahassee. It would revise requirements for the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program. It would also revise eligibility and ineligibility requirements for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program.

Daniel Aqua is the executive director for Teach Florida, which is a parent advocacy organization that seeks to prioritize funding for students with disabilities and unique abilities.

“What this bill does it increases the amount of spots so every child with a disability next year will be able to get a scholarship and use that not only for tuition in school but for therapies, tutors and materials,” Aqua said.

He says Simon’s bill will create more scholarship opportunities for children and more opportunities for a better educational experience.

“This is the first time that Florida is potentially going to offer scholarship opportunities to every single child in the state,” Aqua said.

This means if a student is at a school that’s not working for them they’ll be able to switch to a different school or home-school or use their funds for education. Other states have begun to do this as well.

Arizona, West Virginia, Iowa and Utah have recently passed universal scholarships offering every single child the opportunity to get a scholarship to go to whatever school they want.

Simon has high hopes that this bill can help children’s educational needs.

“We just want to make sure the dollars follow the child and the child gets the best education they possibly can,” Simon said.

The bill is currently in Appropriations Committee on Education.