The plight of many schools in areas with concentrated poverty is literally a crime. The recognition of the problems now needs to follow with the realization that school choice does not solve them.
The economic and racial segregation of communities has an exponential impact on social problems. In many ways, it is beyond the district’s ability to provide the needed services for children in those areas. This is what the Citizens for Strong Schools lawsuit is all about. Can the State of Florida escape responsibility for meeting the educational needs of ALL of its children. The answer to this question goes beyond educational policy. It is a problem the nation, states and individual communities have to find a way to address.
Florida’s answer has been to set high expectations and punitive accountability measures. The blame for low achievement in their view, is on the local districts. The solution is to give parents the choice to leave for the private sector and take the state’s funding with them.
Florida’s accountability system is as much to blame for the failing factories as the Pinellas community. We all can and must do better.