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Florida legislators, Jewish leaders join OU’s Teach Florida event to celebrate $60 million in 2022 funding for Jewish day schools

Annual legislative breakfast draws record 750 guests.

From left: Sen. Alexis Calatayud; Teach Florida executive director Danny Aqua; chairman of Teach Florida Dr. Allan Jacob; Florida House of Representatives member Randy Fine; and Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Paul Renner. Credit: Courtesy.
From left: Sen. Alexis Calatayud; Teach Florida executive director Danny Aqua; chairman of Teach Florida Dr. Allan Jacob; Florida House of Representatives member Randy Fine; and Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Paul Renner. Credit: Courtesy.

On Sunday, Teach Florida—a project of the Orthodox Union—hosted its annual legislative breakfast in Davie, Fla. The event drew a record 750 guests, including state legislators and Jewish community leaders. Teach Florida is a member of the Teach Coalition, the education advocacy organization for nonpublic schools.

At the breakfast, Florida Jewish community leaders had an opportunity to connect with elected officials who make critical decisions about state scholarships and security funding. The event also showed elected officials how important the issue of scholarship and security funding is to the Jewish community and expressed gratitude for the $60 million in 2022 state funding that enabled Jewish families to send their children to Jewish day schools.

Teach Florida advocates for expanded state scholarship funding for all students. Today, Florida leads the nation with more than 242,000 children receiving a state scholarship, including a record 7,200 in Jewish day schools. More than 50% of Florida Jewish day-school students receive a state scholarship. Since 2011, Teach Florida has secured more than $253 million in state funding for Jewish day-school families.

Among those who spoke at the event included Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Paul Renner; Florida House of Representatives member Randy Fine; chairman of Teach Florida Dr. Allan Jacob; executive director of Teach Florida Danny Aqua; Teach Florida funding specialist Malka Rhodes; and Teach Florida engagement director Melissa Glaser.

In his address, Renner said: “With Florida being the third-largest state in the country, what we do here in this space when we create our scholarship programs has a powerful influence over what happens in education nationally and even globally. With those dollars, you can have innovative education entrepreneurs that are looking for new ways to serve the needs of the children that are represented by the families in this room.”

Fine stated that “what I’m hopeful we are going to do over the next two years is to see that every student gets every dollar for every method of education that they so choose. When we do that, that is when the mission of expanding school choice will be done.”

And Aqua noted that “our theme this year is changing lives, one scholarship at a time, because every child matters. We are so grateful to our elected officials for creating and expanding these incredible scholarships that are helping thousands of children in our community.”

Contact: Danny Aqua, Executive Director, Teach Florida
danielaqua@teachcoalition.org

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Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union (OU), or Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry, with over 400 congregations in its synagogue network. As the umbrella organization for American Orthodox Jewry, the OU is at the forefront of advocacy work on both state and federal levels, outreach to Jewish teens and young professionals through NCSY, Israel Free Spirit Birthright, Yachad and OU Press, among many other divisions and programs.
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