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School choice raises segregation concerns

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Updated: 1/07 9:13 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It used to be known as Magnet Mania.  Parents would pack the Prime Osborn Convention Center looking to customize their kids' education. 

This year, the event is called the School Choice Expo. 

Duval County School Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said, "This expo is about highlighting the good work that is happening in all of our schools."

Unlike past events, every school in the district will showcase its special programs, not just the magnets.

Trey Csar with the Jacksonville Public Education Fund said, "Some kids have very specific interests. And if you can match an academic program that can focus in that area, a child will succeed to even higher levels."

Csar said this means parents are no longer tied to their neighborhood school.  Any school in the district is an option. 

But that raised a concern.  The magnet program was a strategy designed to desegregate schools in Jacksonville.

Action News asked district leaders if giving parents this much power could once again divide the city.

Csar said, "No, I think giving parents an option for what fits their child best is what's important."

Vitti said, "No, I think the segregation of our schools continues to be an issue, although I think we've made a lot of headway because of our magnet programs."

Vitti said the difference lies in the improvements made at schools all over the city.  He said each school has something special to offer. And your child's interests could take them to any side of town.

"We know that the customer today is the parent.  And that customer has options," said Vitti.

The School Choice Expo is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the convention center.

The Jacksonville Public Education Fund created an online database to make it easy for you to search the city's schools and learn more about what they offer.
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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

floridakrakker - 1/8/2014 12:21 PM
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So tell me - who raised the concern?
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