School Choice Day began three blocks from the state capitol. With a unified front, 1,200 charter school students and advocates marched up hill chanting all the way.
They traveled from all across the state to attend the rally.
The students marched past the Florida Department of Education and on to the capitol to ask lawmaker for more money for charter schools.
What they found at the capitol, were state law and policymakers singing their praises.
“In many ways I don’t’ see this as school choice day, I see this as school children day, school families day,” said Tony Bennett, Florida Education Commissioner.
Governor Rick Scott is an advocate for charter school expansion. Scott says the competition brought by the more than 500 charters in the state is improving education.
“We know that competition and choice make things better and the more choice we have the better our education system is going to be,” said Scott.
Charter schools receive state money to education students just like traditional public schools, but they don’t get tax dollars for construction. This year that could change.
“We need equitable funding. We need parents to have a seat at the table through parent empowerment,” said Wendy Howard.
The crowd also supports the parent trigger bill. The controversial legislation would make it easier for traditional public schools to become charter schools.
The parent trigger bill died in the senate late in the 2012 legislative session. This year it’s on track to make it to the floor of each house before May.