When did you first hear about school choice?
About four years ago a friend told me what school of choice was. I was very intrigued at the opportunity to help minorities and those that are underserved in their public schools. Because this was my friend, I was willing to listen to what she had to say. Then I started working with her behind the scenes, helping with social media campaigns and helping turn out people to her rallies.
Talking with parents changing my entire perspective on what they needed and how underserved they had been for a very long time. As a first generation immigrant, I really thought that these things only happen in a third world country. I was shocked to see some of the problems in the schools that I visited. Some schools had nearly fifty students per classroom.
I learned that some of the parents really know how to navigate the system. But they were also afraid to speak up because they didn’t want to face regulation or any consequences that would impact their children. Mothers with children with special needs talked to me about like all the things that they have to endure, even cases of abuse.
I realized that one size does not fit all. All some kids need is that one-on-one attention in school. Once we have been able to transfer that kid to a school that has less students, or has more individual attention, kids usually start performing really well.
No kid will ever be the exact same as the other ones. We have to focus on the kids instead of focusing on the system. That why I got involved in school choice, because I realized that my community and other minorities need access to different options. I couldn’t even imagine doing something different because I really love what I do. I have seen the change in so many kids and they have told me their stories. I’ve been there to see how giving them access to a school choice has changed her life.
I come from that household where my mom struggled to read to me. She didn’t have the resources to send me to a different school and there was no such a thing as an Opportunity Scholarship for me at that time. My mom has really struggled to provide me with the resources that I needed to be successful. My the teachers empowered me and helped me to eventually graduate with a master’s degree. That would have been impossible if I was not in the right environment. I was successful because my mom was always searching and trying to find resources for me, even if she couldn’t even understand what she needed to teach me.
What does school choice mean to you?
School choice is an opportunity to escape your circumstances. It empowers kids and families to exit years of poverty and under service. It means access. It means giving kids and families access to something that they probably won’t get otherwise, because the system is built in a way that doesn’t favor them. To me, school choice means that students have the opportunity to exit poverty. I’m proof of that. And I know that many of the parents are searching for that.
“To me, school choice means that students have the opportunity to exit poverty. I’m proof of that. And I know that many of the parents are searching for that.”
Is there anything else you’d like people to know?
That we’re in the right side of history. Regardless of what the opposition always says, I’m very upset that many times politicians use minority communities for their political purposes. This is not an issue that should be a political issue. Democrats and Republicans support school choice because it’s the right thing to do. This shouldn’t be an argument, in my opinion. I hope that eventually our system gives everyone the ability to access an alternative education.
For people who weren’t born on in a wealthy and connected circle, they’re always going to be disadvantaged. Those are the people that fall through the cracks, and they’re the people that school choice helps most. I hope that lawmakers and the ones that are reading this bio eventually realize that.