My family is a school choice family. I have three children, twins who are rising college sophomores and one that is a rising 7th grader.
My twins completed their K-12 education never attending traditional public schools. K-7 they attended Christel House Academy South, a public charter school, and then they finished out grades 8-12 at Heritage Christian School.
I am not against traditional public schools, and I do believe that our communities, especially our black urban communities, need strong public schools. Unfortunately, the truth is in Indiana, like many states across the country, some traditional public schools are failing to prepare our black and brown children for the future. When I decided to exercise my school choice rights, it was still fairly new in Indiana. I couldn’t say for sure if choosing to send my children to a public charter school and later a private school by way of a choice voucher would make any difference at all.
In the spring of 2018, my twins graduated from high school, and in the fall of 2018, they both headed off to their respective colleges. One is attending a private university and the other is attending a public university, but the stories are the same. Approximately a month into the school year, I received texts from each of them saying, “Thank you so much for making sure we received a good education.” They began to see so many of their peers struggle to stay afloat, some taking so many remedial classes that they will not be classified as a sophomore this fall.
Both of my twins found themselves becoming a resource to their peers and helping them with concepts they learned in high school. They each finished their freshman year strong and we’re both on the dean’s list.
I did not choose a charter school all those years ago because it was a new fad, or I was trying to dismantle public schools. I did it so my children could have the best possible start in life. Without school choice, this story could be different for my children and many others like them who have been trying to escape failing schools. In the end, school choice allowed me to reach my goal of preparing my children for college. If for some reason they choose not to continue their college journey, it won’t be because they were unprepared for college-level work.