PROGRAM — Florida Tax Credit Scholarship

Hi Katrina, could you tell us about your sons and their scholarship?

I have two sons. My oldest attended a private school with the Step Up for Students Scholarship, and he’s now going to be graduating college on May 16th. I was so impressed with the school and the type of education my son was getting through the scholarship, that I said to myself, “this is something good that I can carry on to my next son.” It’s an awesome program.

Tell us a little bit about your oldest son’s experience with school and with school choice: 

A personalized education for your child is what’s right. I like the scholarship option because it gives the parents the opportunity to put their child in an educational setting thats smaller and geared towards the child. Instead of just passing my child on to the next grade because of attendance or because of participation, he was passed because he understands the curriculum. School choice means you’re going to have the curriculum geared towards his educational level.

I feel that way for my younger son too. In the neighborhood that we lived in, I really didn’t want my kids to go to our district school because the teachers taught according to how the children behaved. I just didn’t see them making it. I’m glad that his father and another friend heard about Step Up for Students and was able to take him to a school outside of the district. He is getting the education that we wanted him to have so that he can be successful in life. He was at public school at one point, but from middle school to high school, he was in a private school.

What differences have you noticed? What about his academics? Where was he happier?

For my older son, I wouldn’t really say he was happier at his new school because he wanted to be with the neighborhood kids where his friends were. But in terms of education, he did much better. He did end up getting a scholarship to go play college football, but his grades were excellent as well. Either way he would have gotten a full scholarship to college.

My youngest son is ten. He’s had the scholarship his entire time and is doing very will in his lessons.

Why do you think all families should have an option like these scholarships?

I think parents should have a choice just like I did when taking him out of the the neighborhood school. We need to give kids smaller class sizes so they can have one-on-one attention. It’s important because some kids can sit in the back of a classroom with dozens of other kids and get unnoticed, the teachers know that he’s there, but what about his work? There needs to be a time out to say “okay, he’s struggling.” He needs to be helped along instead of being simply made to take a test. Instead, he may get a C that’s passable and they’ll just send him along. There’s no guarantee that he knows his lessons. With the scholarship and our new school, when they leave here, we know they’re leaving with something.

“With the scholarship and our new school, when they leave here, we know they’re leaving with something.”

What message would you have for policymakers who are considering whether or not to support school choice?

I think everyone should have a choice. Give the community and the parents a choice to get their children the education that they know they need, the education they need so they can be successful. These are our doctors, our lawyers. We want to make sure they know how to take care of us when the time comes.

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