Administrators at some of Florida’s largest school districts — including Miami-Dade County — are speaking out in opposition to House Republicans’ $200 million “schools of hope” plan that would pit new, specialized charter schools against the districts’ perpetually failing traditional public schools.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools is “actively lobbying against” HB 5105, a spokeswoman said, and Duval County schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti sent a lengthy letter to the Florida Senate Monday morning urging lawmakers to “please use logic and reject” the House’s bill.
The Senate has yet to formally discuss the “schools of hope” legislation that the Republican-led House passed last week along party-lines. The legislation seeks to attract specialized, out-of-state charter schools to come to Florida and compete with struggling traditional schools so that students currently attending such schools have another option.
Because both chambers agreed to send the House-approved bill to upcoming budget conference negotiations, it all-but ensures some form of the policy will become law in 2017-18. (The bill is a top priority of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes.)
However, school district administrators — echoing some of the opposition expressed by House Democrats — say they have concerns about the proposal.
In his five-page letter, Vitti said the bill “seemingly attempts to address the authentic need” of improving schools that serve students who largely face the challenge of generational poverty “but does so without a research-based, data-driven, realistic or sustainable solution.”
Photo credit: Kristen M. Clark / Herald/Times Tallahassee bureau