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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

One size does not fit all, school choice advocate argues



As Florida courts and lawmakers come to grips with a lawsuit challenging the adequacy of Florida's public school system, they should balance the competing interests of "uniformity" and "choice," Step Up for Students president Doug Tuthill writes in a column for the St. Petersburg Times:

"The meaning of words such as "high quality" and "safe, secure" change depending on whether they are being defined within the context of an industrial or customized education system. In my work with Florida's Tax Credit Scholarship program for low-income students I regularly talk with African-American mothers who insist their children feel safer and more secure in small, faith-based schools in their inner-city neighborhoods.

On the other hand, I know many white, middle-class families who don't think their children would be safe or secure in these schools. Do these schools meet Florida's constitutional requirement of being safe and secure? It depends on the student. A one-size-fits-all answer doesn't work."

Yet it's the guideline the state's court system has used in deciding many major cases, such as Bush v. Holmes. What do you think? Should the state look at our public education as a uniform school system, or as a diverse system of schools, as it approaches policy and funding decisions?

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:44am]


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