Rene Garcia: Parental Choice, The Best Educational Route for Our Children

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    Rene Garcia, Former State Senator

    The global COVID-19 pandemic has challenged school districts and forced us to reimagine public education as we know it. While leading experts agree that in-person learning is the best option for children, school districts must make student and employee health a top priority. Schools need to open, yes, but it must be done safely and responsibly. As communities in Florida prepare to open K-12 schools, careful consideration must be given to local health conditions. It should not be a cookie-cutter, top-down approach to returning students to the schoolhouse. As reopening of school plans are developed, local communities need to balance the economic and health impacts with the social and academic needs of children.

    Collaboration with parents, medical professionals, businesses and local government is critical to the development of a responsible, data-driven approach that provides parental choice and is flexible and nimble enough to withstand the evolution and the possible continued spread of the virus. Implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, acceptable, while being tailored to meet the needs of each unique community.

    The School Board of Miami-Dade County recently approved its reopening plan for the 2020-2021 academic year. The thoughtful and balanced plan designed following input from parents, health professionals and businesses leaders, is guided by health considerations that protect students, employees, and families.

    Parental choice is a cornerstone of this plan, providing parents with options that consider their preferences and comfort level in preparing for the school year ahead. Superintendent Carvalho and the School Board should be commended for the development of a reasonable and responsible plan that prioritizes the wellbeing of students and employees, while respecting the voices of parents and providing them with much-needed flexibility. Our state and federal leaders should support this plan. As Republicans we have always supported school choice. Let us now not penalize school districts for embracing our very own ideology of empowering families in deciding the best educational route for their children.

    Rene Garcia, Former State Senator


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