Her daughter Kristen was awarded a scholarship via the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) six years ago, allowing her to attend a high-achieving private school in the city as opposed to her struggling neighborhood school in the Northeast portion of the nation's capital. Now Kristen is thriving as a college sophomore in Pennsylvania.
So for Cousins, it's not about politics or disputed statistics. For her, school choice means a chance at a better future -- and now, she wants for her son the same opportunity afforded to her daughter. She's tried desperately to enroll him in the OSP since its inception, but limited space has felled those attempts in past years, and the pursuit was made even more difficult when, in 2009, Congress and the Obama Administration stopped allowing new students to receive scholarships.
Yesterday we attended an event at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. to help Cousins and other low-income District parents sign up to enroll their kids in the highly-successful OSP.
Having served as a lifeline for thousands of children since it was enacted in 2004, the newly-reauthorized and extended program's application deadline is this Thursday, June 30. Hundreds of parents arrived on Saturday morning and throughout the day to sign their children up with the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, the organization that administers scholarships for the program.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Cousins explained the importance of making sure that her son, Nathan, gets the same opportunity as his sister. Read what the concerned mother had to say after the jump.
"I don’t think everyone gets how important it is for parents to have options. We all want to find what’s best for our children, and nothing is more important than education.
It has to do with being in an environment where everybody is serious about education and wanting every child to succeed. When [my daughter] graduated, I was so proud."
There are thousands of parents like Elaine Cousins out there. We hope her son and other children get the opportunity to pursue a better education -- the opportunity all children deserve.
You can read the full story in The Washington Post here. For more information on how to apply for an OSP scholarship, visit www.CYITC.org.
- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MAG