School choice on the school board

In our Florida roundups this week, we neglected to mention a significant and promising development – the election of a pro-school-choice candidate to the board that oversees one of the biggest school districts in Florida and the 22nd-largest in the country.

Jason Fischer, 29, easily won a seat on the Duval County School Board with a platform that included strong support for charter schools and private-school vouchers. His victory is all the more significant because he faced a strong, well-funded challenger in a 125,000-student district that has been more resistant than most to expanded school choice.

“I used the word vouchers. I used the word charter schools. I didn’t shy away from it,” Fischer told redefinED today. “I was bold about who I was and what I wanted to do.”

That message resonated in his conservative district, and Fischer has an opportunity to build on it and reach folks of all political persuasions. As a school choice advocate on a big-city school board, he can help bring a new approach to public education – one that doesn’t get hung up on outdated dividing lines that often obscure what matters most.

“I don’t care if it’s a traditional neighborhood school down the street. I don’t care if it’s a magnet school, or a charter school, or a private school,” Fischer said. “If it works best for the kid, let’s do it.”