NEWS: Florida Expands Public School Choice to Thousands

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Florida students at more than 150 public schools can transfer to higher-performing campuses in their school district or anywhere in the state that will accept them, thanks to an expanded school-choice law adopted this year.

The schools, including 17 in Lake, Orange and Volusia, all posted low scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test this year, so they must offer their students a chance to leave.

The list of 159 transfer-eligible schools is more than six times as long as last year’s roster of 24.

School administrators must tell parents about their transfer options by July 25, the Florida Department of Education stated in a letter to the 33 affected districts.

The Orange County school district already has mailed letters to about 15,000 parents with students in the 11 schools on the list, said Christopher Bernier, the administrator who oversees school choice. Most families should get the letters this week.

Pamela Cameron said she was surprised to learn Edgewater High School in Orlando was on the list, but she might transfer her daughter, Lorrie. As a 10th-grader, Lorrie came home with stories of fights, overcrowded classes and teachers too busy handling discipline to teach.

“I want to still have faith in the school,” said Cameron, but with her daughter’s crucial junior year coming this fall, they may apply for a transfer.

Read more here: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/os-transfers-failing-schools-20110719,0,683045.story