In a document by the Florida Department of Education, entitled CONTROLLED OPEN ENROLLMENT Annual Report for 2008-2009 School Year, it was explained that parents have the authority to choose their own public school, despite the “boundary” rules the public so often feels restrained by.
This document states, “Section 1002.31, Florida Statutes (Public school parental choice), requires each school district to develop a controlled open enrollment plan and submit the plan to the Commissioner of Education. Controlled open enrollment is the system by which school districts make student school assignments with parental preference as a significant factor..……A Process That Allows Parents to Declare School Preferences – Each district’s plan should include a summary of the process that outlines how a parent or guardian informs the school district of his or her intent to participate in the choice program. The process must include the means by which parents have an opportunity to submit a formal application or request to the school district regarding their choice.”
The problem with many districts is that parents are not served well in that information like this is not readily shared with them. Sometimes this lack of cooperation, and sharing of information is due to the fact that parents don’t know what to ask for. They don’t know what they don’t know! Also, guidance admissions counselors in the schools are overburdened with bureaucracy and don’t spend quality time with families to inform them appropriately.
The idea of parents having the right of a choice for placement is much broader than just a physical choice. Parents can choose the program too – if they had the time, and knowledge to push the point. One parent I worked with had an 18 year old that only needed 3 credits to graduate. He finished the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test requirement already. The school refused to let him take the 3 credits virtually. Their reason was, he was required to sign up for the entire 6 1/2 credit day because that’s they way it was done. He dropped out. No one cared. That parent was not told that she had the right to demand that her son be allowed to take the 3 credits any way he (dam….well) pleased! By chance I met this family, and we walked through the process together. In one week he was signed up. I continue to have a grave distrust of the public school system because of the dysfunction I constantly observe that winds up hurting students.