I’m a Mother and a Student – This is My School Choice Story

My daughter is a recipient of the Children’s Scholarship Fund of Philadelphia. As I am continuing to further my own education working towards obtaining my graduate degree, I have had to reduce the hours that I am available to work to manage enough time to succeed in college. The scholarship helps lessen the expense of my daughter’s tuition and helps to make everything that she and I are trying to do possible – without sacrifice. I am grateful for the assistance, and I continue to volunteer to help the Children’s Scholarship Fund as a parent ambassador, facilitating communications to other parents like myself who need the extra help to keep their children in the school of their choice.

The school of our choice is a parochial school in Philadelphia, which offers a robust curriculum and the opportunity for children to reach their highest potential in a safe environment. Of course, every child deserves to learn in a safe environment, but unfortunately, I do not believe that every school in Philadelphia has the ability to provide this.  My daughter is currently in the 6th grade and enrolled in an advanced placement program that is teaching select children extra work intended to help them with their high school readiness. The program ensures that they have the best chance possible to get into the best area high schools and beyond. She is currently in the top of her class.

My recent visit to Washington D.C., sharing my story of school choice with Congress, was an enlightening experience! I was the only parent of a scholarship recipient on the trip, and I enjoyed hearing the young alumni stories as much as anyone. I kept thinking that someday soon my daughter will be just like these young adults, on the path to greatness. I think that everyone on the trip, including myself, gained a stronger understanding of politics. It also affirmed our belief in the need to be vocal about why the opportunities allowed to us by school choice are extremely valuable and crucial for so many children who are wanting to learn, have a quality education and have the opportunity to be successful.

As the hours of the trip went on, the importance of the issue and the purpose for why we were all there became more apparent to everyone. We all started asking questions and listened more (and maybe talked a little less). The most significant memory I have from the trip that keeps replaying in my mind is when we were all sitting, waiting to speak with a congressman. The alumni were flipping through papers on a coffee table when they had a realization: not all elected officials support school choice. They were confused and crushed. A young lady asked, “Why would anyone not want me to have the opportunity to succeed?” In that moment, I knew that what we were doing was important.

I believe that school choice works because it gives children the opportunity to succeed. All families deserve to have that opportunity.