Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Why I Joined the Fight for Educational Options

Lisa Leslie
When my husband and I researched the schools in our area, we were surprised to see how low the schools were ranked. We have heard about the fight and argument for better education but never took the time to research it until it was time for our daughter to go to school. We had to make a decision: Either put the money into a private school or move to a new house in a location where the schools are ranked higher. We chose to move and enroll our daughter into a public school. I then thought about all those children who were left behind. Having the opportunity to receive a high-quality education should not be reserved for those with the money to send their child to a private school or – in our case – physically relocate to an area with better schools.  All children, no matter their family’s income or Zip code, are deserving of the same quality education my children receive.
The more I thought about it, the more passionate I became. I want to help more children find the best education possible. While the local public school may work for some students, it is not the answer for every child.   We need options on the table to ensure all children have access to the education that best addresses their needs.

In high school, I was an honor student, class president (three years in a row!) and graduated with a 3.7 grade point average. Growing up in a single-parent home with limited financial resources, my local neighborhood school was my only educational option. I really loved my time in high school and did the best I could in the classroom. I had a true appetite for learning and felt great about what I learned.  It wasn’t until I got to college and struggled, forced to take extra classes to get me caught up to freshman level, that I began to question whether I had actually received the best education possible. 

This doesn’t have to be the case. 

Educational options – including private school choice programs – have a proven track record of providing students from low- to middle-income families with access to a quality education. It provides parents with the ability to choose the education that they feel is best for their children. It is the foundation for ensuring all children have every opportunity to build a successful future.

Thanks to my work with the American Federation for Children, I had the opportunity to share my story at National School Choice Week events in Atlanta, Georgia and Nashville, Tennessee.  I instantly connected with the families in these cities who face the same obstacles my husband and I encountered.  When your child’s school is failing to address your child’s needs, what do you do?  Where do you go? 

I decided to join the fight to ensure our children have access to educational options to help give a voice to the countless number of parents across the country who want to see their child succeed in a school that works.   

It is time all students – regardless of their family’s income, zip code, or race – be given an equal shot at a quality education and a brighter future.

-Lisa Leslie

1 comment:

  1. I am going to take this as a sign from above that I saw this post on as the first post on my feed on FB this morning. My daughter who is a huge fan of Lisa Leslie was accepted into a private school this week that she desperately wants to go to. However, we were not awarded financial aid. It is physically impossible for me to send her there with out aid. I found it so upsetting that I may have to resort to sending her to a public school with 28 kids in a class. My daughter is academically driven she is a straight A / A+ student who wants this more than anything. She is well rounded a basketball player, civic volunteer. She has Alopecia so she tends to be shy because of this condition unfortunately but she is great kid that just wants a great education and because of our income may not get it. It stinks!