“School Choice” Florida Law

Governor Rick Scott is making history for Florida youth. Due to the “School Choice” Florida law, students of Florida will now be able to attend any public school that has space, beginning in 2017-18. This law took effect under a massive education bill and was on the table with many other pieces of legislation that the Governor will be addressing throughout the upcoming months.

Not only will this allow students to attend any number of public schools in the state, but it also will grant athletes immediate eligibility when it comes to transferring schools as well. This aspect is a game changer for the youth of Florida. Not only will they be able to choose academically a school that is best fit for them, but they will also be ensured that their athletic careers won’t be in jeopardy should they choose to transfer.

This law allows parents to forgo the previous boundaries that used to contain the limited number of schools for each district. Instead they will be open to single-gender programs, lab schools, virtual instruction programs, charter schools, and charter technical career centers all as viable options for their children to attend. The previous metaphorical rope that barred certain schools off from families depending on their location in the state will no longer be present and instead a transparent number of options for education will take its place.

Parts of this change in law was inspired by the educational reform of Colorado which opened up the public school system by way of providing families with open enrollment opportunities for the last ten years. While not all may agree with this change, it will open up the ability for students whose families may not have been able to uproot and switch districts or couldn’t afford the out of district fees to attend a school that they felt best fit their children’s needs. This opens education up to a more level playing field for the youth of Florida and affords many people more opportunities to receive a higher quality education than previously possible.

The law will however give preference to students who live in the district first as well as students who are moving due to their parents active-duty status in the military, foster care placement, or court-ordered custody arrangements to ensure fairness. The schools must have room to admit outside of district students as well as the parents needing to be able to provide transportation and the student not be under some sort of expulsion or suspension order.

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