Reporting David Sutta
Legislative Session Coverage
MIAMI (CBS4)- It’s not everyday you see people in suits riding a big yellow school bus, but that was the scene in downtown Miami Thursday morning.
On board was Miami-Dade’s Superintendent Alberto Carvalho playing a sort of tour guide, of the districts miracles. Over a loudspeaker he told the passengers, “The graduation rate this year exceeds the average graduation rate for the state of Florida. Miracles have happened here at Edison Senior High.”
The tour began at School Board Administration Building at 1450 NE 2nd Ave in Miami. The folks in suits are actually legislators from across Miami-Dade County. Carvalho is hoping that what the legislators see on the tour will have a lasting impression.
Miami Edison High School, the first stop, was a high school set to be shut down just a few months ago for repeatedly being rated an F school.
“It’s a school that has beat the odds,” Carvalho said.
Today Edison is rated a C school, attendance is up and new programs are focused on not just graduation but continuing on to college.
During the tour, legislators are brought into various classrooms for face to face time with teachers and students.
Florida House Majority Leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera said seeing the results of political actions is a part of the experience.
“This is the first chance I’ve had to actually be in the facilities with the superintendent and other members of the delegation,” Cantera said. He added that it was an opportunity to, “See how those decisions have been made at the political level and the government level are now being seen in the classroom.”
Last year, in the wake of recession education budgets took a hit. But Carvalho trying to do his best to see that it doesn’t happen again this year, CBS4’s David Sutta reported.
“If this was a call symbol on Wall Street you would be investing it in because our stock is up,” Carvalho said. “And this tour today serves as an opportunity for them to see what their investment would be like. What the return on their investment would be like.”
For Representative Dwight Bullard, an educator himself, he thinks the tour hit home.
“It really personalizes, humanizes, which is very important, what education is all about,” he said. “It’s no longer a talking point. It’s no longer a line item in the budget. It’s about real people doing real things.”
After Edison, the bus tour went on to other schools, including Coral Way K-8 Center, Lindsey Hopkins Educational Center and iPrep Academy and Primary Learning Center. One of the schools also toured has a bilingual program.
The tour is part of Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ community outreach effort with legislators. In the end though this is all about January when Legislators meet in Tallahassee and have to work on a budget.