Finding Common Ground the Next Generation Can Build On

You can’t turn on the news or scroll through your favorite social media outlet these days without getting hammered by the divisions and differences in viewpoints on almost any issue facing our country today. While I am a believer in civil discourse and a diversity of viewpoints, the harsh banter and attacks I’ve witnessed as of late are terribly disheartening. I often wish Facebook had a filter that would hide any sort of political post and allow me to see only cute photos of my friends and their children (and pet children), exotic travel posts, and even the occasional short recipe video.

As a firm believer that ALL parents deserve the right to make choices about where their child is educated, it’s been tough to see what seems like droves of people attacking the issue and those who support it. The go-to argument seeming to be that those who support parental choice support taking money away from public schools, the backbone of many a community, including my own. While opinion polls show that support for private school choice has actually increased, you wouldn’t know it by scrolling my Facebook feed or browsing the suburban mom-centric groups and pages I’m a member of.

It’s a shame to me that people don’t believe that you can support both your local public schools AND a parent’s right to choose from a diversity of options. To me, these things have never been mutually exclusive. As a child, I attended both traditional public and Catholic schools and benefitted from them both at various points in my educational career. The latter requiring my father to take on a second job to be able to cover the tuition. I have been a teacher in a traditional public school and plan to send my young children to the public school in my neighborhood. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to buy in to a zip code that has amazing public schools. Should I find that my kids have needs that cannot be met by these schools or might be better suited to another school type, I will then select a school or schools that do. I want to see strong, well-staffed, sufficiently funded, neighborhood schools. I want to see struggling schools, public or otherwise, take steps to improve and better serve their students. But while that happens, why should those less economically fortunate than myself be stuck in a school that is not meeting their educational needs? School choice can provide a child an immediate leg up.

I support public schools. I support good schools, across sectors, for all kids. And I support a parent’s right to choose from them. Let’s stop the us versus them and find common ground. We all want to provide our kids a good educational foundation from which they can be successful. Can I get a “like”?