School Voucher Tour Criticized

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Thousands of Florida parents are getting letters telling them they have until next Wednesday to decide if they want to move their child from a school that did not meet yearly progress expectations under the federal No Child Left Behind act.

In Florida, there are more than 800 schools that passed the FCAT, but did not meet the federal expectations.

Damien Filer of the Coalition for Community Education says parents have a right to be confused.

“Almost 90 percent of the schools in Florida the federal government says are failing schools. I don’t know what people are supposed to make of that."

Parents need to read the letter closely. It says that if they move their child they can’t go back to a public school for another year.

State education officials will be traveling the state over the next few days telling parents that they have options.

McKay Jimeson is a spokesman for the Florida Department of Education. "Choice is a valuable component so that children aren’t stuck in failing schools; we can put our children in schools that are going to work for them."

But the teacher’s union leader Mark Pudlow of FEA United believes the tour and town hall meetings are an effort to undermine public schools.

"It’s where they are essentially acting as PR firms for private schools and for the private companies that are using, that are getting tax payer money. I think that we would all be better off."

While state education officials are out pushing more school choice, the three programs that pay for students to move out of public schools are under investigation for having a lack of accountability.