Growing up in Mexico City, I attended two different private schools. When I moved to El Paso, Texas, I attended two public schools. Since, I went to both public and private schools, I had the chance to compare the differences between them.
For a time, I worked in the French department as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher at a university, and I noticed that education was very important. There, I learned about education options. When, I returned to the United States, I went to work at Arizona State University for American Dream Academy. This program educates parents and students who are not originally from America about the American education system.
As a field program manager, I would go to private schools and public schools, elementary, middle, and high schools, and that’s when I began to notice that there were some deficiencies in the Arizonian education system. I’d talk to students in ‘D’ and ‘F’ public schools about the importance of having a good GPA to get into a good college, but many didn’t perform well enough in reading and math. I’d go to a private school, and I noticed the students performed differently.
That’s when I knew I had to do more to help students.
I started working at the American Federation for Children to educate parents on the Arizona school choice scholarship programs. I told parents what was possible for their children, with school choice they could move their child to a different school, whether private or charter. The parents were so happy.
“At first, people didn’t believe us. They thought it was too good to be true.”
I gathered a group of canvassers, and we started knocking on doors to tell people about the school options. At first, people didn’t believe us. They thought it was too good to be true. We submitted roughly 300 applications for the scholarship in two or three months. People were desperate for a change, some had children in neighborhood schools full of bullying and drugs. When you told their parents that they didn’t have to stay in the neighborhood school, mothers would cry.
“When you told their parents that they didn’t have to stay in the neighborhood school, mothers would cry.”
School choice means the opportunity for dreams to come true. If I can save one kid or make one kid happy by going to go a school they enjoy, I’ve been successful. Life is about choices. If you make good choices, you will have a good life.