House Bill 1 passed in both legislative chambers and is now heading to Gov. DeSantis
TALLAHASSEE, FL - Yesterday, House Bill 1 (HB 1), the universal private school voucher bill, passed the Senate and was certified. It passed the House last week. The next and final stop for this bill to become law is the Governor’s desk for signature. HB 1 will result in a devastating overhaul of Florida’s public education system resulting in billions of taxpayer public education dollars being diverted to private schools.
The ACLU of Florida opposes this bill and urges the Governor to veto it.
Tiffani Lennon, ACLU of Florida’s executive director, responded to yesterday’s final passage of the bill with the following:
“Public schools serve everyone. Private schools pick and choose which students to accept, often to the detriment of lower income families.
“Make no mistake, if Gov. DeSantis signs this bill into law, Floridian students and families will suffer the consequences. The result will be a massive defunding of Florida’s public schools, allowing billions in taxpayer dollars to be diverted from public schools to unregulated private religious schools. Our public schools are already suffering and need more resources, not less.
“Our taxpayer dollars should not be used to subsidize wealthy families, and finance private schools and the corporations that own and control these entities. This will devastate the future of public education in Florida and the detrimental consequences will be far-reaching, especially for communities of color, and low-income families that depend on the public school system.
“Supporters of this bill like to pretend that this is about ‘school choice,’ but once again, the only people that will have a ‘choice’ are those with the money to choose. Again, DeSantis puts his own views ahead of working Floridians.
“Unlike public schools, private voucher schools do not have the same obligations as public schools to protect students from harassment and discrimination. They can —and do— discriminate against students based on religion, gender, LGBTQ+ status, disability, academic achievement, and disciplinary history. Many religious schools that receive taxpayer-funded vouchers also discriminate during the hiring and admissions process.
“Private religious voucher schools have also been known to impose creationism teachings in science class and mandate religious worship in the curriculum in the form of chapel, daily prayer, or daily scriptural readings.
“While parents have a right to direct the religious education of their children and to send their children to religious schools, they are not entitled to religious education provided at taxpayer expense. We urge the Governor to veto this legislation.”