Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Miami Vouchers

Miami-Dade officials said at least 68 students from five Miami inner-city schools filed for vouchers as of the Monday deadline. The Florida Department of Education had a higher count -- 92 -- who called its voucher hot line and said they wanted to attend one of the program's 35 participating private schools, the majority with a religious affiliation.

The district said 208 of the 4,585 eligible students -- less than 5 percent -- decided to leave the five schools, which last month received their second F in four years on the state accountability grades. Of those, 140 -- double the number of voucher students -- chose to transfer to better-performing public schools in their local areas.

What the Miami-Herald fails to explain is the short timeline that parents had to apply for vouchers or public-school transfers. The school grades were released in early June. Then parents were notified of their eligibility for vouchers by mail. Parents had about 10 days to meet the school-voucher deadline. I'm surprised that even 200 parents were able to get it together in such a short window of opportunity.

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