Choice. Many parents, legislators, and elected executive branch officials tout the opportunity of choice. They decry public schools have failed. Frankly, I’m weary of their mantra, and no longer choose to debate the overall effectiveness of unequal, playing fields, budget shenanigans, and downright criminal enrollment practices.
Thursday night, our retiring superintendent delivered his 10th and final State of the District Address. He highlighted three of our students: one junior and two seniors. Each from different high schools. Judge for yourself.
Allison is a junior, who was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome as a toddler. The doctors told her parents it was so severe, she’d never be able to go to school. Yet Allison and her family persevered, and she went to school. Today, she thrives, as a member of the elite dance and chorus line, where she also serves as assistant choreographer. A member of National Honor Society, Society of Women Scholars, and student government, she plans to attend a university as a theater and dance major in the spring of 2020.
Corrie, a senior, suffers from diabetes and created a national Race for the Cures for the Diabetes Association. Her GPA is an astounding 4.56, and she’s already been accepted at Pepperdine but hoping for acceptance at Harvard. Like Allison, she has a long list of academic society memberships, as wells leadership positions in various clubs.
Now fasten your seat belt. CJ is a senior at our specialized school for the behaviorally challenged. A 6 foot 3, African American, who’s built like a line backer. CJ was born addicted to crack cocaine and spent his infancy shuttled between foster homes. Then he suffered a severe brain injury, which left him angry and aggressive. A blight on humanity, a throwaway, until a petite, Caucasian woman chose to adopt him. She knew CJ would never be accepted in a charter school and she enrolled him in our district. Today, CJ is a “gentle giant,” who loves preschool children. The school engineered an internship for him this past fall at a private preschool, where he has flourished. Additionally, he assists in one of our preschool programs. As president of his school’s student government, he has led with example and hopes to get a permanent preschool aide position at graduation.
Again, the choice is yours. But never underestimate the power of public education.