A loose-knit network of education activists generally opposed to the direction Florida has been taking its schools recently is attempting to organize into a more potent political force.
The groups include parents, people who want more state funding for schools, and others who are fed up with the brand of testing-based school accountability that Florida has become famous for. Under the umbrella of the Alliance for Public Schools, they are hoping to bolster their fundraising capacity and step up their efforts to influence legislation at the statehouse.
Fifteen-year-old Jordyn Alexander Howe boarded the school bus with a loaded gun in his backpack. He pulled it out, it went off and fatally wounded fellow student Lourdes Guzman-DeJesus, 13.
Miami-Dade police say the shooting on a charter school bus in Homestead was an accident. Howe was charged with manslaughter and carrying a concealed firearm. He spent the night at the Miami-Dade Juvenile Assessment Center.
Earlier this month, an investigation by StateImpact Florida and the Miami Herald revealed that most Florida charter schools are not enrolling students with severe disabilities, like autism or cerebral palsy.
Tonya Whitlock and her son Tres, 17, say they have not been able to get Tres into Pivot Charter School near Tampa. Tres has cerebral palsy, and the family said the charter school is concerned they cannot provide all the services Tres needs.
This month, an investigation by StateImpact Florida revealed that more than 86% of Florida charter schools don’t serve a single student with a severe disability, compared to half of traditional public schools.
State education officials say no school is required to take every student with every disability. But lawyers are divided on whether charter schools can legally turn kids away.
No one person decides where a student with disabilities can go to school.