Best Private Schools In Coral Gables

Best Private Schools In Coral Gables – The city of Coral Gables is considering spending $4.2 million to buy seats for residents at WestLab, a popular magnet school now open to anyone in Miami-Dade. Coral Gables wouldn’t be the first wealthy South Florida city to use money and influence to shape local public school options. Roberto Koltun @ rkoltun

Located in a leafy area of ​​Coral Gables, the public K-8 center known as the WestLab, a German language program, a high school curriculum focused on science and math, and the University of Miami’s School of Education. offers a partnership with

Best Private Schools In Coral Gables

It is so popular that almost 400 students are on the waiting list – more than the school’s entire population. But even though WestLab is located in Coral Gables, it’s a magnet school, meaning anyone in the district can apply.

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That’s why the city of Coral Gables is considering paying $4.2 million just to build seats for residents’ children. The money will pay for an additional classroom to accommodate about 180 students, who will be mixed with the rest of the students. For a one-time fee of about $23,000 per student slot, Coral Gables residents can guarantee a slot forever.

City officials and residents said the proposal would help address the need for more space in high-quality schools. Other cities in Miami-Dade — many of them wealthier — have done so to create more local public school options, paying for additional seats at popular magnet schools or spending millions of dollars to fund expansion programs. have done Some cities have also created their own municipal charter schools.

But some municipal investments could further segregate Miami-Dade schools along racial and economic lines, experts say — and divert money from nearby public schools.

“I understand that parents want more options, but at the same time it creates diversity, and it’s often the affluent communities that do that,” said Coral Gables resident Osamudia James, a law professor at the University of Miami. There are those who specialize in it. Education. Problems “It’s true that it will make segregation worse.”

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School board member Steve Gillen expressed similar concerns in an email, saying such a proposal could result in “the creation of systems and structures that discriminate against disadvantaged children and people of color based on their ZIP code.” may prevent such access to world-class education. Code.”

Take, for example, MAST Academy in Virginia, a popular science and technology magnet school that draws students from across the county. The Village of Key Biscayne paid nearly $10 million to expand the school in 2012 in exchange for residents getting first dibs on two new academies within the school.

The deal was controversial at the time because some students and teachers felt the district had sold the seat to Biscayne. They are concerned that guaranteeing a place for villagers will change the culture of the school.

If nothing else, the investment has certainly changed the demographics of MAST. The percentage of low-income students halved, from 37 percent of students in 2012 to about 19 percent in the most recent school year, according to state data. The percentage of black students has also declined, from nearly 10 percent in 2012 to less than 3 percent this year, school district data shows. The increase in the percentage of Hispanic students led to a slight decrease in the overall percentage of minority students.

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Miami Shores was one of the first places in Florida to create its own municipal charter school, passing a $5 million bond in 2003 to create the Doctor’s Charter School for residents in grades 6-12.

Conclusion: According to state data, only two percent of physician charter students are low-income. Before the charter school was created, the neighborhood’s public high school options for Miami Shores residents were North Miami and Edison High Schools, with at least 90 percent of the student body being poor.

Doctoral charters offer the kind of education that students at private schools can expect. According to the school’s website, more than half of the faculty has a master’s degree or higher, and students can choose from advanced computer science courses and the kind of literature classes you might find at a liberal arts college. are

Doctors Charter School was created by Miami Shores Village for residents in grades 6-12. Ivan Berkowitz for Ivan Berkowitz/Miami Herald

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Further north, the city of Aventura operates its own K-8 charter school, known as ACES. Aventura is now in the process of opening a new charter high school — something parents, local politicians and business groups have been pushing for years. He believed that high school doctors. Michael Krupp in North Miami-Dade, a public high school that serves Aventura residents, is too far for some families.

Aventura residents will get first dibs on the new high school, which is slated to open in 2019. While residents of other districts can apply for open seats, City Manager Eric Soroka said based on interest from residents, he doesn’t think that will happen. anyone

On the other hand, some area residents worry that charter high schools could alienate the area, drawing wealthier Aventura residents away from Krop as well as additional resources, such as fundraising donations.

“Personally, I think there are benefits to having a diverse school population so that especially high school age kids can make friends with kids of other races,” said Aventura resident Ivy Ginsberg. “By saying all slots will be given to Aventura residents only, it’s like giving Aventura residents their own private school.”

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That was not the city’s intention, Soroka said. “The only thing we’re providing is another educational option for our residents right now,” he said.

School districts are under intense pressure to keep wealthy families in the public school system because those families usually have other options. For every child who leaves the school system, the district loses money.

“Wealthy parents can use their market power to create more options for themselves,” said James, the UM law professor. “We talk to wealthy parents to keep them from leaving and going to private school that we give them the choice and the opportunity and they should stay, but they save resources in exchange for staying.”

School districts also face stiff competition from charter schools, and many have created special programs like magnets in an effort to retain students, said Elena Silva, pre-K director. Education Policy Program in the New America-12, a DC-based think tank. . That’s especially true in Miami-Dade, where charter school enrollment has more than tripled in the past 10 years. In response, school districts have created more than 500 elective programs, including both magnet schools and specialized programs at neighborhood schools — everything from forensic science and conservation biology to international finance and robotics.

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But ensuring equitable access to magnet schools can be difficult, Silva said, because low-income students often struggle to find transportation if the school is far from their home.

“The biggest issue with this electoral program is whether everyone has equal access,” he said. “If you put a magnet program in an affluent community and then you reserve seats at that school, does that help address inequality in that district?”

Miami-Dade has worked to create choice programs throughout the district to ensure students in low-income neighborhoods have access to special programs, district officials said.

“This is a win for our community and our residents,” said Iraida Mendez-Cartaya, who oversees the school district’s office of intergovernmental affairs. “You have two government agencies coming in and using resources, giving more access to the community.”

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Mendez-Cartaya disagrees with critics who say building extra seats at magnet schools could negatively impact some residents. He emphasized that proposals like Coral Gables do not displace others. This is the debate, whether or not to add carvings from the existing school”, he said.

This contribution does not always include paying for a seat at a magnet school. Sometimes cities just want to invest in their neighborhood schools.

Sunny Isles Beach funded a $4 million expansion of the Norman S. Edelcup/Sunny Isles Beach K-8 Center in 2011, and Miami Beach has added programs to its public schools, including a rigorous International Baccalaureate program. .

And it’s not just wealthy areas that have partnered with school districts. Homestead’s redevelopment agency helped convert West Homestead Elementary into a K-8 center, and Miami Gardens is in the process of building a science and math center near Carroll City High School.

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In some parts of the country, cities operate their own school districts. This can lead to different schools in neighboring cities because money collected from property taxes — the primary source of local funding for public schools — varies from place to place.

Mike Griffiths, a school finance expert at the Commission on Education, said that’s an argument in favor of district-wide school districts like Florida’s.

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