As more families choose homeschooling, Florida legislation could provide more funding

HB-1 would provide universal private education voucher program for students

Studies show more students are being home schooled. While the COVID-19 pandemic was one of the driving factors, some parents are now concerned about the changing educational and political landscape.

Leslie Rawle is the director and co-owner of Central Christian academy.

“I have talked to some that are concerned about that issue what... public schools are teaching, and they don’t want that to be an issue for their child,” Rawle said.

His private school gives parents the option of home education.

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“They can teach whatever they want to teach,” Rawle said. “There’s no set standard of what they have to teach, so that’s the beauty of homeschooling.”

According to U.S. Census data, Black households that switched to homeschooling increased from 3.3% to 16.1% in 2020. That was the largest jump of any other racial group.

Cheryl Fields-Smith, a professor in elementary education at the University of Georgia, told CNN that there are multiple reasons why more Black families are choosing to homeschool.

Smith notes Black students are more likely to be disciplined and more likely to be denied access to gifted education.

“I conceptualize it as a form of resistance,” Smith said.

The increased interest in homeschooling comes as the Florida state lawmakers introduced HB-1.

If passed, it would create a universal private education voucher program for all K-12 students, called the Florida Empowerment Scholarship (FES).

The Florida Policy Institute analyzed the fiscal impacts, projecting a substantial increase in the number of homeschool students using state money to cover an expense they were already paying for.

This could mean less funding for public school districts.

“The public schools have known for a long time that people have been leaving their schools to (be homeschooled),” Rawle said. “I think the real matter there is allowing parents to have the choice and the freedom to do what they think is best for their child.”

There has not been much discussion on HB-1 yet, but it is a top priority.

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About the Author:

Treasure joined News 6 at the start of 2021, coming to the Sunshine State from Michigan.