By Brandon Larrabee, News Service of Florida
A bill that would allow parents more freedom to choose where their children go to school was overwhelmingly approved Tuesday by a House panel, even as some critics and educators worried the legislation is moving too quickly.
The measure (HB 1145) – sponsored by Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor – was approved by the House K-12 Subcommittee in an 11-2 vote, with two Democrats joining the panel’s nine Republicans in voting for the bill.
It would allow parents to transfer their students to any school in the state that had not reached 90 percent of its capacity, regardless of county lines. It would also require districts to set up a process for parents to request that their children be removed from teachers’ classes.
Supporters have touted the legislation as the logical extension of the state’s school-choice reform movement, while opponents have raised questions about whether the process could be orderly.
Even speakers who were not overtly opposed to the bill raised questions about whether the legislation is too ambitious. Vern Pickup-Crawford, a lobbyist for Palm Beach County schools, said the July 1 effective date of the legislation could force school districts to adjust quickly to the new landscape.
“To try to have this implemented this next school year is something resembling organized chaos,” he said. Continue Reading →