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ICYMI: Florida should follow parents’ innovation during the pandemic and create education reforms

Feb 9, 2021 by AFP

Americans for Prosperity-Florida State Director Skylar Zander | Miami Herald Op-Ed

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the shortcomings of one-size-fits-all education. In the midst of a worldwide crisis, we saw our education system struggle to adapt to the individual needs of individual students. If it were not clear before that we need to move beyond prioritizing the system over the students, it is crystal clear now.

We should rethink primary and secondary education that is failing to meet the needs of every child. To do that, Florida needs to be as nimble and innovative as parents have been. While various jurisdictions have squabbled over how, when and where to reopen schools, families have largely ignored the spats and focused on finding approaches that work for their individual situations.

The Florida Senate has a measure that would move us a step closer to giving each Florida student the tools and resources they need to unleash their potential.

Senate Bill 48, sponsored by state Senator Manny Diaz Jr., of Hialeah, would provide more flexibility by ensuring that more Florida students can access an education that works for them — no matter where they live.

Diaz’s bill would streamline some of the elements that already were offering innovation, with an eye toward making them even more effective in providing students and families the opportunities they need and deserve.

The pandemic gave us a rare opportunity. It exposed the shortcomings of the existing system. It often wasn’t pretty. Too often it was ineffective and left too many behind.

But it also provided a glimpse of another way of doing things. It provided us a chance to ask not just, Why do we do it this way,” but also, Why don’t we do it better?” Florida students and their parents took this approach and have begun to create bottom-up solutions to address the challenges COVID-19 presented by developing learning pods and micro schools.

Now we have the chance to learn from this experience and turn that learning into action. It’s time to insert reforms into our education system that enable students, teachers and families to adapt and meet any challenges we face. It is time to prioritize students and families over buildings and bureaucracies.

Click here to read the entire op-ed.