What kind of public school is Pine View School for the Gifted?
Pine View refers to itself as a gifted school of choice. This language appears on the district website and is often used by administration employees to distinguish Pine View as a "choice option."
If you want to change your schedule, change a teacher, or maybe take a dual enrollment course or online FLVS course, you will hear the "school of choice" language. Administration might say something along these lines - "Pine View is a gifted school of choice. As you exercised your choice to attend Pine View, then you have agreed to our policies. If you don't wish to comply, you can go to your district school."
If you hear something often enough, you tend to believe it. School of choice sounds logical and official sounding and since everyone uses it, it must be true, right?
According to the Florida Department of Education, there are three types of public schools as follows:
- Traditional public school (schools that offer students basic courses and possibly Honors, Advanced Placement, and/or Dual Enrollment level courses).
- Magnet public school (not defined in law, but defined on FLDOE as "Magnet schools and magnet programs offer a specialized curriculum to students outside the school’s normal attendance boundaries. These programs may include a particular theme or focus such as mathematics, science, technology, communications, international affairs, business or performing arts. A magnet school is defined as an elementary, middle, or high school that offers, to all students enrolled in that particular school, a special curriculum capable of attracting substantial numbers of students of different social, economic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. Magnet programs differ slightly from a magnet school as the special curriculum is offered to a cohort of students as opposed to the entire school."
- Charter public school (school with own charter and board of directors defined on FDOE as "Charter schools are public schools of choice. They are very popular—and among the fastest growing school choice options in Florida. Charter schools are largely free to innovate, and often provide more effective programs and choice to diverse groups of students."
So, back to our original question, Pine View is a traditional public school.
Actually, "School of choice" has no statutory meaning and is not clearly defined. Check out this Florida Department of Education memo, which says,
On October 4, 2013, the department informed school districts of the legislative changes that measured class size compliance at the school average for schools of choice. This communication is attached. Because no statutory definition of schools of choice currently exists, school districts determine which of their schools are designated as schools of choice.
The idea of school of choice began when parents were given the right to choose to take their children out of schools that were failing. It also was used as a loophole for districts to use to avoid penalties associated with the state's class size amendment. From there, the language has been twisted in this district to mean you have no choice since you exercised it already, but as we have explained this is completely untrue.
School of choice - it's not what they say it is.