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PROGRAM — Opportunity Scholarship Program

By Kyleigh’s mom, Erin:

I am a single parent, my daughter’s father’s rights were terminated many years ago; therefore I receive no financial support. My parents, aged and ill, passed away in 2009; our support system, though mighty, came to an abrupt end. It is for this reason that I was adamant that Kyleigh attend a Christian private school to give me the support necessary to raise a healthy, confident, strong young lady, filled with faith, and love of God and neighbor. The old adage is true: it does take a village to raise a child.

Kyleigh is thriving at her school, involved in music, cheerleading, student council and Honors Society. She is a responsible, remarkable young lady. I cringe at the thought of our lives if she weren’t attending St. Anne Catholic School. She is only able to attend because of the generosity of the Opportunity Scholarship. We are eternally grateful and offer our prayers in thanksgiving daily.

Nevada finally, for the first time in years, doesn’t rank dead last in the race for quality education, Nevada is second to last. Historically, Nevada has held the honor for many other first place or top ten titles as well. Nevada held the highest suicide rate in the nation until recently; we are second worst for domestic violence cases, and Nevada ranks fourth in the nation for number of women murdered by men. It is no surprise that Nevada also ranks among the states with the highest divorce rates. Nevada is bankrupt in morals and family values. But what can we expect when God and pride of our country are removed from our educational facilities?

The parent’s job is to protect and provide for our children. Forming and shaping our children’s academic career is no exception. As a single parent, with one source of income, limited resources and no additional support, stacked with the already alarming stats provided, my daughter should not be precluded from the quality education that society has reserved for the economic elite. I seek and need a support system of my daughter’s school that will uphold and continue to teach with respect Christian family values, student formation and nurturing souls that have been lost in our world today. I would not be able to engage such a support system in our public schools.

With school choice options, families have a sense of satisfaction in selecting the school. And parents participate in the success of the school by becoming involved in their children’s education. Parents are selecting schools tailored for what each family values for their child’s educational needs. Families are empowered to select a school that will cater to any learning or physical limitations their child may have when armored with educational funds. I’m able to enroll my daughter in a private school that allows for security, counseling, arts and music close to home and work. Our school enhances our religious beliefs, allows small class size for more isolated learning for each child and evokes shared community where the older children are responsible for the younger children on campus in group/shared events. I don’t care who you are, when you see a small child look up to an older peer for guidance and support and the child is met with care, comfort and respect, it will melt your heart and reflect the world’s great equalizer. This isn’t something that is taught, but you can experience this with school choice.

If each school was created and functioned equally, if there was a systemic wide concern for child safety, if educators knew how to handle and reduce bullying in our public schools, many families would opt for public school vs private school. Private schools adhere to strict zero tolerance of drugs, bullying, and disrespect of teacher and peers. The coveted ratio of students per teacher, coupled with the Golden Rule, detention, suspension and expulsion for such acts, is almost unheard of. When parents discipline at home, school administration and teachers can concentrate on education over character lessons that should have been taught by the parent already. When families have selected the school of their choice versus being forced into the broken public school system, we are surrounded by like-minded people, there is a level of respect before meeting other families, with the understanding that we all desire for full success of the school and all the children, not just our own; there is a unity among the crowd.

In pursuing school choice for my family, I’m challenging the status quo. If more families exercised school choice, public school administration and the powers that be would be forced to rise to the occasion to say our current system is broken, current societal norms are out of control; bullying is at a level never seen before and graduation rates are plummeting. It’s time to stop what isn’t working. Time for our schools to take accountability and vow for improvement: Allow us all equal access to quality education that isn’t conditioned on income, save tax payer dollars, allow tax incentives to those businesses and philanthropists who want to contribute to educational funds. Increase graduation rates and community partnerships. Help cultivate responsible citizens who wish to contribute back into their community and economy.

After writing these notes and offering testimony to this matter, the real question is “why shouldn’t all families have school choice”?  In fact, there should be no question on the subject at all.


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