By Cheryl Kirk
The election is over. The people have spoken. And I, as the mother of three children, now challenge all of our local elected officials to continue to fight for quality education.
There will be several new faces in elected positions of leadership in January, and my greatest hope is that they will continue --and even ramp up-- the fight for quality education of poor and minority children in the city of Indianapolis and across the state of Indiana. I implore our new Superintendent, Republican Jennifer McCormick, and Governor-Elect to push for not only quality education in all of our districts but also for school choice.
Providing options for quality education while also repairing our public school system is important to the families not only in Indianapolis but also across the state. As a resident of Indianapolis and a parent of minority children, both are important to me. And I am not alone in that feeling.
Indiana’s growing commitment to quality education and school choice has given my family access to quality schools that, for much of our history, we have been denied. It has allowed us to choose a school with smaller classes for my oldest son, a school that offered advanced level classes for my daughter as a Pre-K-12 school that served all three of my children and also worked for our family.
And based on the evidence, I'm not alone. A recent study by the Heartland Institute reinforces how much Indiana parents value the state's school choice programs.
“Limiting choice solely to neighborhood public schools,” the authors write, “would leave many parents not fully satisfied because they cannot access the best educational fit for their children,” including the best fit for their moral and religious instruction. “Making sure parents are as satisfied as possible should be the policy when providing an education, not limiting them to enroll their children in schools that are going to provide a less than complete education in the parents’ eyes.”
Because of school choice my children have friends of all different racial backgrounds and socioeconomic status. This is hugely important to us as parents who are trying to teach our children about differences, tolerance, and understanding.
In short, school choice in Indiana has empowered us parents with the tools we need to provide the best learning environment and the best fit for our children and and our family’s needs.
Indiana is leading the nation in leveling the playing field and providing options for parents. I challenge our new State Superintendent of schools and our Governor Elect to continue to be trailblazers in the education space for families like mine.
There is no greater gift for a parent than the opportunity to prepare our children for a better life through education.
It would be a crime to take that away.