Florida’s Urban Leagues and education advocates are teaming up for a series of town halls later this month that will include discussions on the growing number of learning options available to minorities.
The attention to education is nothing new and has always been a cornerstone of the Urban League’s mission to help minorities achieve social and economic equality. But the turn toward school choice is.
“We’re just looking at other ways, new options and new solutions for students to be successful in school,’’ said Allie Braswell, president of the Central Florida Urban League that serves a seven-county region. “And as you look at school choice, it’s just become an option to explore.’’
The Florida Consortium of Urban Leagues Affiliates is hosting the town hall meetings in partnership with Black Floridians C.A.R.E., Democrats for Education Reform, Derrick Brooks Charities, StudentsFirst and Step Up For Students, the nonprofit that administers the Florida Tax Credit Scholarships. (And co-hosts this blog.)
One key part of the effort will be looking at charter schools and tax credit scholarships for low-income students to attend private schools. Florida Department of Education figures show that about 43 percent of the state’s 3.4 million students in PreK-12 attend a school of their choosing. And that is what’s driving this conversation.
“It’s the simple market, the proliferation of charter schools and private schools,’’ said Germaine Smith-Baugh, president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Broward County. “Choice has become a market-driven issue.’’