The Florida Supreme Court last week struck down the nation’s first statewide school voucher program. Under Florida’s six-year-old program, students from failing public schools can use taxpayer-funded tuition vouchers to attend private schools. But the state’s highest court ruled 5-2 that the program “reduces money available to the free schools” and “funds private schools that are not ‘uniform’ when compared with each other or the public system.” The state constitution requires “uniform” public education, the court noted. Gov. Jeb Bush, who considers the voucher program one of his top achievements, called the ruling “a blow to educational reform.” While the decision is not binding outside of Florida, experts said it could spell trouble for similar programs in many other states whose constitutions also include provisions about school uniformity.
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