Lost amidst all the bloviating by Florida’s republican legislators that Parent Trigger will finally give parents a seat at the table is the reality that some parents and children won’t. By Parent Trigger’s coercive petition, they become disenfranchised. No provision in Florida’s Parent Trigger bill address gifted, special needs or children who receive free or reduced meals.
Florida’s for-profit charter school industry – who would be the primary beneficiary of Parent Trigger – haven’t been inclined to serve the most vulnerable of Florida’s students. A December 2011 Miami Herald story revealed “87 of charter schools don’t serve any students with the most intense support needs.” Director of school choice programs at the Florida Department of Education, Michael Kooi explained, “charter schools do not have the infrastructure and economies of scale to provide special programs to meet the needs of those children.
Kooi’s explanation is the simple reason why charter schools don’t get the same per pupil as do public schools. It’s shameful for charter school advocates to parade their kids in front of legislators to say they treated unequally. Maybe there were some special needs kids at last week’s pep rally.
So what happens to the special needs kids from a Florida school after Parent Revolution has parachuted in to agitate their way to a charter school? What happens to the percentage of kids who get free or reduced meals? Or gifted kids in arts programs? Florida Parent Trigger advocates apparently don’t want to think about that right now. Perhaps they feel that we’ll have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it and to just trust their intentions.