Florida’s War on Public School Education: Private School Voucher Expansion

Ella Pedroso, Senior Design Editor

On March 27, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation into law allowing nearly all students attending K-12 private schools to receive taxpayer-funded vouchers to fund their tuition — another one of DeSantis’ efforts to weaken the public school system in order to support and improve private schools that subscribe to his radical agenda.

The law eliminates income-eligibility limits on vouchers, causing Democratic critics to question the cost of the bill. A House analysis of the bill estimated a cost higher than $209 million, and a Senate analysis estimated more than $646 million, with an even higher estimate from the Independent Florida Policy Institute: $4 billion. 

To use taxpayer money with a hateful, power-hungry motive goes against every principle in American democracy. With this law, DeSantis takes advantage of Florida citizens’ tax money and abuses his power to gain more profit. Signing this legislation into law without a concrete price reveals the danger in this legislation: how much money will DeSantis steal from the public school system and other publically funded Florida institutions?

Making it a key component of his conservative agenda, DeSantis fights to limit public schools from teaching a “liberal agenda” using methods such as banning AP African American Studies, and the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill. DeSantis signed this legislation as another one of his weapons to fight public schools, attempting to control Florida’s youth through manipulated education. DeSantis has also previously attempted to block schools from teaching critical race theory, the study of how racism has molded our country and legal system. DeSantis aims to monopolize Florida youth, strictly teaching conservative values and blocking liberal ones. Shielding youth from learning about sexuality and race does not enforce “American values,” it births a generation unaware of the hidden truths of our country. With our youth living in ignorance, the outcome lies in one that only empowers the current conservatives in power. The motive here does not aim to “protect” children, it aims to mold them into soldiers of supremacy. 

DeSantis’ war on public schools has spread into a key component of the Republican Party’s ideals. Florida House Speaker Paul Renner claimed the law allows parents to send their children to alternative schools that respect their values and faith, condemning the “craziness” that happens in public schools. This law symbolizes the greater fight over supremacy and power in our country, as well as the moral evil of using taxpayer money to carry it out. Florida’s youth cannot continue to be used as political pawns.

Pouring taxpayer money into the private school system will only drain money out of the already underfunded public school system; a system in which nearly three million Floridian children learn under. This legislation encourages a sole thing: the deterioration of the public school system.