Brittany Wagner
floridaWhen Missourians think of public school choice, they might think of charter schools or the school transfer law, which allows students in failing schools to transfer to quality ones. Currently, only students in Kansas City, Saint Louis, and outlying counties have access to options other than the school they were assigned to. What if all students in Missouri had public school choice?

In Florida, legislators are moving quickly on a bill that would provide students in the Sunshine State with just that. Florida students would be able to attend any public school in the state if the receiving school has not reached 90 percent capacity. Choice advocates view this as an extension of the programs students already have access to.

Florida leads the nation in providing educational options. Thirty percent of Florida’s students attend a school other than the public school they’ve been assigned to. Students have access to tax credit scholarships, education saving accounts, virtual schools, charter schools, and if this latest choice bill is signed into law, statewide inter and intradistrict choice.

There are many benefits to adopting this law. For starters, providing all students with inter and intradistrict choice would allow more quality options, sometimes even options that are closer to home. It would also diminish inequalities that exist within large school districts, where one school might perform better than others.

Missouri should consider expanding the inter and intradistrict choice some students already enjoy. We will never have as much sunshine as Florida, but we certainly can provide students with as much choice.

About the Author

Brittany Wagner
Education Policy Research Assistant

Brittany Wagner was an education policy research assistant at the Show-Me Institute.