School administrators said that they had to find a way to meet class-size limits. Jodi Robins, the assistant principal of curriculum at Miami Beach High, said that even if students struggled in certain subjects, the virtual labs were necessary because “there’s no way to beat the class-size mandate without it.”
Rocky Hanna, principal of Leon High School in Tallahassee, was a vocal supporter of Amendment 8 when efforts began ramping up last spring to repeal the 2002 class-size requirement that had been vastly underfunded by the legislature in the years following its approval.
“I spoke in favor of this amendment last spring,” Hanna told The Florida Independent. “I was convinced by some people with the American Association of School Administrators that this was the right thing to do, so we as principals would have flexibility in our schedules and I signed on. I thought if all things were equal, especially the funding piece, that it would be nice to have a little more flexibility and not have the hard cap at 25. By the end of the session, I realized that all things were not going to be equal and once they decided not to give the final round of funding up all bets were off.”
Parents and teachers in Miami-Dade schools are wary of the new program, and the PTA has established a committee on virtual classrooms to mitigate confusion over the new plan. One teacher candidly told the Times:
“The way our state is dealing with class size is nearly criminal,” said Chris Kirchner, an English teacher at Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami. “They’re standardizing in the worst possible way, which is evident in virtual classes.”