Some people have DM’d me asking why I’m such an outspoken proponent of #SchoolChoice. I think it’s important for parents to tell their #SchoolChoiceStory.

Here’s mine.
We picked our two boys up from their public elementary school on March 13, 2020. It was a weird time. “Flatten the curve” was new vernacular for us all as the coronavirus spread.

14 days. Ok. We can handle that.
Let’s be real about those 14 days. Our school shifted spring break earlier expecting to be back in person shortly. Teachers were scrambling as we all were. Some performed valiantly. Others disappeared.
14 days turned into a month and then that turned it to mailing it in for the rest of the year.

Here’s the thing. This was all new. I don’t blame school officials or teachers for that period. We all were reacting in real time.

But what happened to us was unforgivable.
We never heard from my oldest’s 4th grade teacher ever again. Not a word. From March 13 to school ending. Never heard from her. A TA sent worksheets over Google classroom but that was it.

When I say “not a word” I mean it. She completely checked out.
My Kindergartener’s teacher proved valiant. Despite being older, she was a champion at handling these digital tools on the fly. She really did an amazing job.

But we were on our own to homeschool our 4th grader. We both worked full time. But we made time for him.
As summer hit it’s stride, it was apparent that in-person school in our urban district was not guaranteed. So we looked at private options and thankfully found one with a few spots left for our two boy.
Our kids began their school year normally, albeit with state and county mandated masks. But they were in person. Our neighbors were managing weird scheduling with on-again-off-again in-person days.
Here’s where the story gets alarming. Our now 5th grader was a bright kid. Always near the top of his class. We found the “new instruction” odd (common core techniques) but resolved that our kids didn’t need educating in the same way we did. So we ignored it and played along.
He was struggling in the 5th grade. The cumulative knowledge the private school kids had and the deficit ours was in was frightening. The school provided tutors at no cost to catch him up.
He was behind on everything from math to language arts. The latter was the largest concern. He had never had a spelling test in his life. His grammar was behind. He didn’t know what a preposition was. The other kids learned every preposition in 3rd grade in song format.
For the first quarter he struggled mightily. Thank God, his tutors caught him up and he was on the honor roll for the final 3 quarters.
What we were planning on being a year in this private school caused my wife and I to reevaluate and pledge that our children (all 3) would graduate from this school.
Both my wife and I come from humble backgrounds. We were products of public schools K - college (I was the first in my family to graduate with a college degree). We believed in the system. And it was only when our eyes were forced open did we see.
Here’s the kicker. Our private school spends less educating each pupil than the average per-student expenditure in North Carolina.
Our children are fortunate that we have the means to provide an alternate path for them. But this issue is so much bigger than us, though it became personal for our family.
There are so many heartbreaking stories that were illuminated by the incendiary path the teachers unions laid and the school systems were all too willing to oblige.

Every child deserves the same path our family took. Every. Single. One.
So I ignore the anti-school choice advocates when they say this is about “siphoning money from public schools” or “defunding public education” or “taking tax dollars to send rich kids to private schools.”

Reject this.
I could care less if my family didn’t receive a cent of our taxpayer money to send our kids to private school if that meant that those without resources had a chance.

The public school system is fractured and it’s breaking in front of our eyes.
Now is the time to disrupt factory schooling and end the government school experiment.

It’s literally a choice that will either provide a future for our children or damn them into adulthood lacking basic competency skills.

Let’s make the right one.

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