Caution with growth of choice schools

08/24/2014 7:00 PM

08/22/2014 6:29 PM

I read with interest the article by Christina Veiga on Aug. 18, Choice schools become the norm in Miami-Dade. The state of Florida has 42 percent of all students in choice programs. As the former executive director of Magnet Programs and Schools and first president of Magnet Schools of America, I urge caution in this rapid expansion.

First, we must not neglect neighborhood schools which are a “good choice” for many parents and children. Secondly, we must reinstitute the Parent Resource Centers in diverse communities. From 2002-2010, we at the Abraham S. Fischler School of Education at Nova Southeastern University (NSU), operated these centers across the state under a Voluntary Public School Choice grant.

We served migrant parents at Centro Campesino, Haitian families at Sant-La and African Americans at the Resource Room in Miami Gardens as well as the Parent Academy in downtown Miami.

We must reach the parents who are not as “savvy” or working two jobs to support their families. As a member of FACE (Florida Alliance For Choice in Education), I call on Representative Shevrin D. “Shev” Jones from District 101 and others in the Legislature to replicate these centers that were eliminated when the federal grants ended in 2012.

Judith S. Stein, executive director, National Institute for Educational Options, Abraham S. Fischler

School of Education,

Nova Southeastern University,

North Miami Beach

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