Editor’s note: This commentary from Derrick Standifer, a full-time single father of two and a Ph.D. student at Florida A&M University, appeared this morning in the Tallahassee Democrat.
I am a single father of two children, ages 6 and 4, who are exceptionally gifted. Traditional public schools simply don’t have the infrastructure to accommodate them, which is why I am grateful Florida provides learning options for families like mine.
It was so frustrating sending my daughter to kindergarten in public school. At 5, she could read on a third-grade level, was multiplying two-digit numbers and playing chess. The school’s kindergarten curriculum was to teach the children the letter sounds and how to count. My daughter was not being served.
But thanks to a school choice scholarship, she is afforded the opportunity to attend a private school that provides her with a curriculum that challenges her.
I wanted to share this because of a myth being perpetuated by people who are trying to stop SB 48, a bill that would give Florida families more choice and flexibility. Most recently floated by the Florida League of Women Voters, it suggests parents don’t know if their children are learning, can’t tell whether one school is better than another, and will be duped by “hucksters who promise miracles with computers systems and magical thinking.”
This is blasphemous. Increasing the educational options for parents allows them to place their children in the best environment that best meet their academic needs. And parents do know what’s best.
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