Editor’s note: This article appeared Monday on readlion.com.
Florida students could soon benefit from the option to attend a blend of classes in public schools, homeschools and specialized schools as a part of their weekly schedule.
Called “part-time public enrollment,” the initiative is a part of the bigger school reform package making its way through the legislature in the Sunshine state.
Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Florida-based advocacy group ExcelinEd, told The 74 that the Florida education reform bill HB1 specifies that “any public school in this state, including a charter school, may enroll a student on a part-time basis,” which opens the doors for a la carte instruction.
“I like to start by making things permissive, and then you let the innovators go after it,” Levesque said. “Districts or schools that really want to take advantage of the flexibility can pave the way and they show the others what can be done.”
A policy analysis from ExcelinEd in 2021 reported that at least 12 states allow students to enroll in public schools part-time. The group also maintains that such policies provide school districts with financial incentives to innovate in order to attract students with specialized classes.
Just as the pandemic opened businesses to the idea of not having workers in a central building for eight hours per day, it also eroded the principle of one student matching just one school, says one education professor.
“[The pandemic] has further called into question the model that attending school means showing up for six or seven hours in a building every day,” Robert Kunzman, an education professor at Indiana University and the managing director of the International Center for Home Education Research, told The 74.
“Certainly the pandemic has accelerated the sense that this is not only something that is possible, but is desirable and beneficial,” he added.
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