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AFP-FL launched a new ad campaign supporting education scholarship accounts.

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New AFP-FL campaign seeks education scholarship accounts for all

Advertisements start as school choice battle heats up in Tallahassee.

Americans for Prosperity-Florida on Monday launched a new campaign supporting Education Scholarship Accounts for every Florida student.

A new television and digital ad from the group cuts together quotes from political leaders.

The first featured are former Republican Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Democratic President Barack Obama, both minority voices. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has continued involvement in the school reform movement, also appears.

The video spot closes with an ask for viewers to contact lawmakers and support creating more scholarships.

“We’re committed to working with anyone who believes that the status quo in education can be improved and that your ZIP code and income shouldn’t determine your educational outcomes,” said AFP-FL State Director Skylar Zander.

The campaign comes as school choice advocates celebrate the arrival of an administration voicing support for such educational opportunity programs.

Gov. Ron DeSantis in February unveiled his own proposal for “Equal Opportunity Scholarships.” His proposal would provide $100 million for students wishing to attend private or charter schools.

Zander said that showed positive signs in advance of the Legislative Session, which begins Tuesday.

“We applaud Gov. DeSantis and the Senate for taking significant first steps to creating more opportunity for all students,” Zander said.

“Educational Scholarship Accounts, for every child, would ensure that parents and students have access to a variety of tools and resources that will lead to every child unleashing their unique potential.”

Of course, the campaign also starts the same day teachers swarm the capital as part of a Florida Education Association Day of Action. Leaders of that group plan to push hard against efforts to direct funding away from public schools.

But AFP-FL officials feel confident public support exists for more school choice scholarships.

The group shared a statewide survey indicating 78 percent of Florida voters agree families should decide where to send children to school.

That same survey found that 67 percent now send their kids to public school, only 29 percent would do so if they had a choice.

The polling found more than half of respondents believe all students should be eligible for educational opportunity programs; 72 percent support expanding Educational Scholarship Accounts for more students.

AFP-FL credits an expansion in scholarships with national assessments for Florida students in math and reading. Advocates there also note successes in college-going rates for students on the Florida Tax Credit Scholarships.

The group feels emboldened by the governor’s recent pronouncement he wants to eliminate a 14,000-student waiting list for scholarships.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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