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School choice bills spark debate

Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate have ambitious plans to provide the state’s 2.7 million schoolchildren with more choices in education.

Their focus: fostering the growth of charter schools and voucher programs.

Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., a Hialeah Republican and vice chairman of the House K-12 Subcommittee, said school choice is a priority for the Republican caucus because “it provides opportunities for families to get out of generational poverty.”

But critics believe something else — this year’s gubernatorial election — is driving the push.

“They are afraid they aren’t going to have a governor who would sign all these bills come November,” said Jeff Wright, who oversees public policy advocacy for the Florida Education Association.

Read more here.

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