A parent’s wish: Stop the lawsuit against school choice scholarships

Special to redefinED
Wevlyn Graves: "Don't take away the hope I have for Ezra."

Wevlyn Graves: “Don’t take away the hope I have for Ezra.”

Editor’s note: This is the seventh post in our school choice wish series. See the rest of the line-up here.

by Wevlyn Graves

If I had one school choice wish this holiday season, I would wish … hmmm … I wish that the people who filed the lawsuit against the tax credit scholarship program in Florida would find true understanding. True understanding that would help them see that this lawsuit could demolish the hopes and dreams of thousands of parents.

I am one of them. I wish for them to understand what I understand, that the school my 9-year-old son attends thanks to a scholarship is necessary for his success and his future.school choice wish 2014 logo

Ezra does very well in the Methodist School Center, because of the small classroom size and the personal unique attention he receives. It is extremely important that he continues to understand that his teachers care, and that he is safe when I drop him off at school every day. It is important for me, as his parent, to feel comfortable communicating with his teachers to ensure his success.

Because I am raising a young black male, it is my duty to combat all the stereotypes that can stunt his educational growth. I know I can do that best in the school he is attending now. I’ve heard that some people can determine how many prison beds are needed in the future by looking at the educational standing of young boys in the third grade. It is heartbreaking for me, as the mother of a young black male, to think about this school-to-prison pipeline. Well, my son in the third grade. He currently has four A’s and one B. I know he is learning.

The Step Up scholarship helps lower-income families find the best possible education fit for their children. This scholarship helps my family because I can’t currently work. I have a newborn daughter with a heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot or “blue baby.”  So while I take care of the needs of one child, the school choice scholarship along with the school staff helps me take care of Ezra. I am truly thankful for the support I have received from Step Up and the Methodist School Center while my daughter recovers from heart surgery. It is reassuring to know my son is being cared for and educated properly while I’m away.

Please, if you are reading this article and have something to do with the lawsuit, please find some understanding this holiday season.

Please put yourself in my shoes for a minute, or put yourself in the shoes of any of the thousands of other parents like me. Don’t take away my right to give my child a proper education. Don’t take away the hope I have for Ezra.

My son needs his private school. The next person’s child may need a charter school or a regular public school. The important thing isn’t what type of school Ezra is in, or my neighbor’s child is in, or your child is in. The important thing is that each child is successful in whatever school they’re in.

As parents, we have the best tools to determine what is necessary and best for our children. Please don’t take away what’s best for Ezra.

Editor’s note: Wevlyn Graves is a parent in Brooksville, Fla. The Florida tax credit scholarship program is often referred to as the Step Up For Students scholarship. Step Up is a nonprofit that administers the scholarship program, and co-hosts this blog.

Coming Tuesday: Nicole Garnett, professor at Notre Dame Law School and co-author of the 2014 book, “Lost Classroom, Lost Community: Catholic Schools’ Importance in Urban America.”

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Margaret James December 30, 2014 - 6:02 pm

I understand Ms. Grave’s piont of view. I also have young black male who is my grandson who attends the United Methodist School. Scholarship allowed me and his mother who is a single hard working woman, to provide a quality education for KeAundre. He was in public school system, but have seen him excell more since he has attend the Methodist School Center and I love what school has offer him now and in the future. I’m grateful to step up scholars for allowing us to provide him with the best education.Law maker shouldn’t have the right to choose were i decide to send my child to school. Thank you Ms.Graves for boldness to speak out and support you and cause 100%.

Ron Matus December 31, 2014 - 7:17 am

Hi Ms. James. Thank you for sharing a bit of your story and KeAundre’s story. I am also so grateful to Ms. Graves for somehow finding the time to write this post about Ezra. So nice to see more and more school choice parents adding their voices to this debate.

Anonymous December 31, 2014 - 9:09 am

You are welcome. I feel the government is taking the power if raising our children and grandchildren and choicibg what’s best for their future out of our hands.

NEA Attacks Charter Choice in Florida | EDUCATION SAFARI December 31, 2014 - 5:18 pm

[…] put perspective to this point, Wevlyn Graves, in a very personal editorial for Redefindedonline.org, has said it all. In Wevlyn’s case, her son is thriving at a Methodist school thanks to Florida’s charter […]

Thank you Thank you September 17, 2015 - 2:07 am

I too am so thankful for step up for you scholarship. My daughter (our whole family) struggle for 4 years at the Public school . My daughter was physically growing, however was not directed and guided from Eduactors in public schools with an intensive IEP If contuine she would never be able to join the working population Now she has the same opportunity to be a successful adult through her unique learning style. Scholarship will allow here to have a life beyond her parents.Thank you Thank you. So at peace with my daughter Education . Florida lawmakers do care about the Next Generation . .

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