This fall many challenges to the program have arisen with some legislators calling for more, unnecessary regulation on private schools. Requiring accreditation, teacher certification, mandating standardized testing, and requiring a fiscal review are regulations that attack not only the autonomy of private schools, but limit the ability of many schools to provide the diversity of programs which are currently available. Unfortunately, the call for more regulations is based on distorted facts and anti-choice rhetoric.
What has The Coalition of McKay Scholarship Schools done to counter these threats?
This fall The Coalition Board and other Coalition members have expended a great deal of energy, expertise and time to counter the addition of these regulations.
- The Coalition has collected and distributed information papers that present the facts on the investigations of private schools.
- The Coalition has developed position papers concerning the proposed regulations and reasoning behind why these proposals would not be appropriate for the McKay Scholarship Program.
- Members of the board have visited legislators in Tallahassee and in their own district to discuss the information and to request that no new legislation be filed this year. President Steve Hicks and several members of The Coalition met with DOE Commissioner Robinson and discussed the needs of the McKay Scholarship and our concerns that it not become over regulated.
- Member schools have been challenged to meet with their legislators in their districts and many have accepted this challenge.
- Dr. Patricia Hardman, CEO of Dyslexia Research Institute and Legislative liason for The Coalition, was asked by Senator Stephen Wise to discuss these issues and our concerns before the Senate Education Committee.
What do you need to do if you are a McKay Scholarship school?
Join The Coalition of McKay Scholarship Schools!
Your voice needs to unite with ours so that legislators hear from the parents and schools that are providing futures for students with disabilities. Legislators have greatly increased their understanding of the McKay Scholarship Program as a result of being visited by Coalition members or by visiting McKay schools. Knowledge is power.
The Coalition of McKay Scholarship Schools is a volunteer organization. Most of these trips to Tallahassee have been paid for by our board members or their schools. You can imagine how difficult it is for schools to have this added burden. Your membership will help us defray some of these costs.
Become involved in an organization that can help you with many questions and/or issues as they arise in the McKay Scholarship Program. Daily our main office answers questions from schools and parents throughout the state. When schools seem to be stonewalled by the bureaucracy of DOE, we have been able to break down those walls.
Plan to attend conferences. If you haven’t attended a Fall conference, you are missing a great opportunity to meet other like-minded schools, receive the latest information on the McKay Scholarship and be exposed to information that is focused on our students with disabilities.
Florida has been the leader in developing a choice program for students with disabilities. Other states have used Florida as a model. However, no other state has a private association of stakeholders such as The Coalition to champion their program and to protect it from over-regulation. Due to this fact many of the states report having very little influence with their legislators and being unable to make the changes in structure needed to have strong programs.
By becoming a member of The Coalition of McKay Scholarship Schools, you help to keep this scholarship program a strong and vital option for our students.