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Press Release

Monday, May 3, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

State Board of Education Members Recognize National Charter Schools Week

~ Celebration focuses on critical role of charter schools and the importance of increased school choice options for families ~

KEY WEST – State Board of Education member John R. Padget today kicked off Florida’s celebration of National Charter Schools Week with a visit to Montessori Elementary Charter School in Key West, Fla. During the visit, Mr. Padget joined students in the celebration of the countless benefits that charter schools provide Florida’s public education system, and the broad array of educational choices they offer to families throughout the state.

“Giving parents a choice in the education of their children is one of the most important things we can do to ensure the academic success for all students,” said Mr. Padget. “Every child has unique needs when it comes to learning, and charter schools provide the type of flexibility and focus that many of these students need to unlock the vast potential they hold within.”

Charter schools are public schools that are independently designed and operated and are among the fastest growing school choice options in Florida. Since 1996, public charter schools have provided parents with smaller classes, alternative curriculum and increased opportunities for involvement in their children’s education. With 410 public charter schools currently operating, and nearly 138,000 students participating, Florida has the fourth largest number of public charter schools in the nation.

“Florida is home to a rich and thriving charter school community that has helped thousands of students receive the tools and knowledge they need to flourish in today’s complex world,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “They are a big part of the academic progress our state has made over the last decade, and their service to our children and our families is invaluable.”

In addition to today’s visit, State Board of Education Chairman T. Willard Fair, and State Board of Education member Roberto Martinez will visit two charter schools on Friday, May 7, to continue the celebration. Chairman Fair will visit Downtown Miami Charter School in Miami and Mr. Martinez will visit Somerset Arts Academy in Homestead, Fla. The Board members will participate in student and faculty activities designed to pay tribute to the unparalleled opportunities that charter schools have been providing children in Florida over the last 14 years.

To learn more about charter schools in Florida, visit the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice Office website at www.floridaschoolchoice.org. To learn more about National Charter Schools Week, visit www.publiccharters.org.