Danae Sparks is a rising senior at Paxon School for Advanced Studies. She came to the Jacksonville Public Education Fund this summer to complete her volunteer hours for graduation. Danae has great insights to give on what students think is important and how we can improve our public schools.
Transportation has always been a big factor in school choices for many students enrolled in Duval County Public Schools. Due to the various locations and distances from some schools to houses, transportation has been provided through regular bus schedules for students to and from their neighborhood schools and dedicated magnet schools, and activity buses (for students who participate in after school activities).
DCPS has a “Choice Program” that makes it possible for students to attend schools that aren’t their neighborhood school. But transportation is not guaranteed. For students, that means excitement for those who would prefer to go to a school outside their neighborhood, until they face uncertainty around the question of transportation.
According to a recent News4Jax story, more than 50,000 of Duval County’s approximately 125,000 students depend on the school bus to get to school. So hearing about all of the options available can be exciting for some students, but for others it can be devastating once they realize that transportation isn’t always guaranteed to the school of their choice.
This is a disadvantage for students who only attend the schools they are at now instead of going to a school they would enjoy better because they have no transportation. Offering this opportunity, but limiting our choices, isn’t as beneficial as making transportation routes more flexible or plentiful to where more students can have a choice.