A couple of years ago Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said “Rather than complain about the incoming tsunami of choice, we’re going to ride it.” He’s opened several quality choice options for families in Miami-Dade. This is just one example of how charter schools have influenced districts to improve, and how all students benefit from the presence of quality school choice.
Choice programs are becoming increasingly popular in Miami-Dade. Some 60 percent of Miami-Dade public school students — around 215,000 students — enrolled in some form of choice program, including charter schools, in 2016, compared to 41 percent in 2011.
That’s just public-school students. Miami-Dade also has Florida’s third-highest rate of private school attendance. So while more than 40 percent of Sunshine State students choose options other than their zoned public school, the South Florida district is in another league.
If the 215,000-plus students attending public schools of choice in Miami-Dade County counted as a separate district, that district would be roughly the eighth-largest in the country, and third-largest in the state.
Over the past five years, the district has added hundreds of new career academies, magnet programs and other public school choice options. It’s adding more programs in the coming school year — with specialties ranging from cybersecurity to sports management — so the number of choice students is likely to keep rising.
Superintendent Alberto Carvalho famously said a couple years ago: “Rather than complain about the incoming tsunami of choice, we’re going to ride it.” It’s a tsunami of parent and student demand that’s only surging in one direction.