MWC’s Sara Clements Analyzes How Florida Lawmakers are Addressing Reading Deficiencies in Schools

February 25, 2020

Pardon Our Dust

We recently launched this new site and are still in the process of updating some of our archived content. Some details of this article may be incomplete, links may be broken, and other elements may not display properly yet. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

In 2018, Florida lawmakers passed the Reading Scholarship Accounts, a program designed for public third- through fifth-grade students struggling in reading.

Sara Clements, vice president with McGuireWoods Consulting, breaks down how this program addresses reading deficiencies in Florida’s public schools in a Feb. 23 article for Florida Politics.

This first-of-its-kind scholarship provides parents with an account to spend on tutoring, summer and after-school literacy programs, instructional materials and curriculum to supplement their child’s education.

In its first year, the program served 5,375 students. The account is modeled after what is known as an education savings account (ESA), nationally.

“Much like the health savings accounts or flexible spending accounts offered as part of many employee benefit plans, typical ESAs — like Empowerment Scholarship Accounts in Arizona and the Gardiner Scholarship Program in Florida — are intended to offset the costs of educational expenses for families who are looking for a customized education plan outside of the traditional school setting.” Clements said. “That typically means outside the school district — but not in this case. This ESA program is only available for kids in public schools.”

The scholarship helps both students and families, but has also extended to school districts.

“Innovative districts and even schools, can set up their own after school or summer intervention programs and recruit students to attend,” Clements said.