Republican candidate for governor used a private school Friday as a backdrop to tout his education plan.
DeSantis toured the Katz Hillel Day School of , which he says has benefited from a state program that provides scholarships for low-income students and children with disabilities to attend private schools.
“I think that is an example of parents having the option to choose the best education for their kids,” he said. “That is an important distinction in the race. I will protect these scholarships and stand with these families.”
DeSantis, who recently resigned his seat in Congress to focus on his governor bid, has visited other schools across the state to , including schools in the Orlando and Tampa areas.
Critics of state-backed scholarships argue they , and state oversight of the program is weak.
DeSantis unveiled his education plan on Tuesday. His platform stresses cutting administrative costs and putting those savings into school choice programs and incentives to recruit and retain teachers. He wants to require 80 percent of school funding be spent in the classroom.
Joanne McCall, the president of the Florida Education Association, dismissed DeSantis’ plan as “a political gimmick that other states have tried and abandoned.”
The state’s major teachers’ union has endorsed DeSantis’ opponent, Democratic Tallahassee Mayor .
DeSantis is vowing to end the use of Florida’s version of the Common Core, a set of standards used in many states. He also supports reviewing textbooks for “political biases,” such as an “anti-Israel bias.”
Gillum is offering a different vision.
Gillum is proposing raising the state’s corporate tax rate from 5.5 percent to 7.75 percent, which would generate $1 billion in extra revenue for public schools. He wants to set the starting salary for teachers at a minimum of $50,000 a year.
He says he will bring the voucher program to “a conclusion” and oppose “unaccountable, for-profit charter schools who want to use public dollars to enrich their executives.”
More than 100,000 students receive the state-backed scholarships.
DeSantis also used his visit to the Jewish school to . Before touring the school, he greeted students and asked them if they had been to Israel.
He told them he was last there in May when the United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem, a decision he supported.
“I am probably the strongest pro-Israel leader who has been nominated to be governor across the country this year,” DeSantis said.
Information from The Associated Press was used to supplement this report.