About six years ago, my spouse and I found a home we could afford in a nice working-class neighborhood, near our families, with decent schools. At the time the schools were not the absolute best, but we were confident that our children could receive a quality education.
But in the last couple of years, that has totally changed.
Due to poor zoning, the school is now overcrowded. There are reports of kids fighting, teachers struggling to control the school and constantly-dropping test scores and ratings. Needless to say, I no longer want to send my children to these schools.
The school district has recognized there is an issue, but their solution—rezoning—took my family’s situation from bad to worse. Every proposed rezoning option resulted in my kids going to lower-rated schools. Even worse, my children would have been assigned to schools within the police district where I serve. Even though I am fully confident that I have always served my community to the best of my ability, I am not comfortable putting my children in a position where they could potentially face retaliation based on my profession.
To Make a Change, I Needed to Learn More about the Possibilities
I knew something had to change. The only options I could think of were buying another home or sending my children to private school. Either would result in additional monthly expenses. Initially, a new home seemed to be the better and easier option, until I considered how far I would have to move to be zoned to good schools within my price range.
I began to research other school options, including charter schools. Though my research gave me a limited understanding of how they worked, I still had a lot of questions. From what I could tell, it seemed that as a middle-class, working citizen, I would not be eligible to send my children to them. After discussing my dilemma with family, I met with Wendy Gonzales-Neal at My Child My Voice, who really put things in perspective and gave me a better understanding of my options.
She thoroughly explained how the charter school systems worked and also offered information on private schools, transferring my children within the school district, potential funding assistance and how to develop a plan for my children’s education. She also shared with me how many people struggle to find the right schooling option for their kids. At first this blew my mind, yet as I thought more about how many of my colleagues are always struggling to provide better schooling for their children, it began to make perfect sense.
After our conversation, I knew charter schools were the most practical choice. They became my family’s top option. Wendy guided us through the application process and remained realistic about the low probability of getting accepted. While we were waiting and praying that my oldest child would be accepted, she had to go to the local school, which unfortunately lived up to the negative reports we had heard.
To our surprise, after only about a week she was accepted into a charter school. The results have been amazing. She wants to be an engineer, so it’s rewarding to see her excited about learning science and math.
Having My Child in a Charter Has Been a Blessing Beyond Measure
She said to me, “Dad, I really like my new school because the teachers actually act like they want to be there and I am learning something new every day.” What more could a parent want? Even with a longer commute, my family and I are fully committed to getting her to school each day because we know she will receive a better education.
As a public servant, I am accustomed to giving much more than I could ever receive, but having my child be accepted into a charter school has been an amazing blessing beyond measure for my family. I truly could not imagine where I would be if she had not been accepted, because her not receiving a quality education and good learning experience is not an option.
I can only hope that everyone is educated about charter schools and the difference they could make for people like me. It’s hard to understand how any leader who has the best interests of all Americans at heart would want to take these options away from us.