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.
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.”