Florida’s school choice programs ensure that no child will be left behind by allowing parents to choose the best educational setting—public or private—for their child. The McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program provided over 26,000 Florida students with special needs the opportunity to attend a participating private school during the 2012-13 school year. The McKay Scholarships Program also offers parents public school choice. A parent of an eligible special needs student may choose to transfer the student to another public school.
“The school-choice issue is not about public versus private; it’s about choice. It’s about knowing what works well for my family and being able to make that choice for them.”
— Parent of a McKay Scholarships Student
Step Up For Students was created to help alleviate the enormous educational challenges faced by children in Florida who live in or near poverty. The program provides Tax Credit Scholarships to students in K-12 who come from low-income families. These scholarships allow the students to consider a participating private school or an out-of-district public school that may better suit their individual needs, an option which already is available to families of greater financial means. This choice is not based on whether the public school is judged as succeeding or failing. Rather, it recognizes that different children learn in different ways and that our collective struggle is to help the students who often are at the greatest disadvantage in modern education.
The statistics in Florida tell a painful story, where only 37 percent of African-American males graduate from high school and only 53 percent of economically disadvantaged children read at grade level. The mission of Step Up For Students is to be a partner in the larger solution.
Our Mission Statement
Step Up For Students provides legislatively authorized K-12 scholarships and related support to give economically disadvantaged families the freedom to choose the best learning options for their children.
Founded in 1971, today Family Central Inc. (FCI) is the epicenter for comprehensive child care, clinical and family strengthening, early learning and training in South Florida. Nationally-accredited by the Council on Accreditation and certified by the International Association of Continuing Education and Training, FCI continues to transform lives through its mission to promote children’s success by providing quality family support and educational services so that every child and family can succeed.
To support its mission, FCI provides child care resource and referral services; eligibility determination and enrollment of children for subsidized child care and Volunteer Prekindergarten; education, training and coaching of child care teachers and directors to improve quality; and building of communities to promote and support early learning and literacy.
Each year, FCI serves over 110,000 unduplicated children, parents, child care teachers, and programs in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties with a participant satisfaction average of well over 94% through all of its programs.