During the October 10th Leon County School Board (LCSB) meeting, Superintendent Rocky Hanna blamed school choice in Florida for Leon County’s recent ranking as one of the five most highly-segregated school districts in the state.
Hanna faced questioning from LCSB chair Georgia “Joy” Bowen on the resegregation of Leon County schools identified in a Sept. report by the LeRoy Collins Institute.
“I think an unintended consequence of school choice led to this (resegregation)’” Hanna said with a shrug, referring to the state’s implementation of school accountability standards, availability of private school vouchers, and the growth of charter schools.
He said changes to Florida law did away with traditional school zones and erased borders.
“Kids with the means and transportation could go wherever they wanted and those without are where they are,” he said.
“Kids desperately need diversity. They need to know how to assimilate — how to be around kids who don’t look like them, act like them and who don’t come from the same neighborhoods,” Hanna said.
“How do we bring diversity back to our schools? Well that’s a million dollar question, but together we can solve it,” Hanna challenged the board to think outside of the box to develop a plan with him.
“This is not an easy conversation to have as a community. We’ve all seen it but haven’t said anything. Now this report has come out and thrown it in our face.”
The LeRoy Collins Institute is a nonpartisan policy organization located at Florida State University which is affiliated with and works in collaboration with the State University of Florida.