A School Choice Thanksgiving

How often is “a great education” recognized at Thanksgiving feasts? Probably not very often. But for those afforded school choice, the educational opportunities now on the table are leaving them stuffed full of thanks.

From Lynn and Tim McMurray in Arizona

Families who benefit from school choice
This Thanksgiving our family has so much to be thankful for, especially the Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) all three of your youngest children have been awarded. Although our adopted children—Alicia, Uriah, and Valerie—were extremely medically fragile at birth, they have overcome many obstacles to remain healthy.

Alicia, 14, is cognitively delayed, with a rare genetic disorder called Kabuki Syndrome and fetal alcohol syndrome. But she is a delight to be around. Unfortunately, public school for Alicia was just glorified babysitting; she was not learning and her needs were not being met. Learning at home, however, has given her life skills she can take with her forever. All of our friends and relatives have asked us, what is so different in her life, she seems so together these days, to which my answer is learning at home!

Uriah and Valerie are both 10 and were born with third- and fourth-degree brain bleeds and cerebral palsy. After graduating out of pre-k special education, we put them in a private school, but that didn’t work. We then put them in a back-to-basics public school, got them a tutor, but that didn’t work either. They were failing in most subjects, and their self-confidence was plummeting. We had to do something to protect them from falling through the cracks. But because both tested “normal,” neither were given educational services.

This is Uriah’s and Valerie’s first year learning at home, and we are very blessed to say not only do they want to learn, but they are learning! I caught Uriah saying to his sister with enthusiasm, “Let’s do some spelling next.” So, he got a book on his own and they did the lesson together.

Last year, Uriah always had the “Monday flu,” not wanting to go to school, could never write or spell words. Not anymore! Valerie also was lost in the system, always too social and not quite getting it. She needed the extra time to process information, which learning at home gives her. She does her assignments until she gets it, with no stress and no pressures. She is all smiles now!

Having the educational option of learning at home has given our children back their self-confidence! It was a lot of fun picking the curriculum for each child and being able to teach the correct learning methods, which has proven successful for our family.

This Thanksgiving is very special for us. We no longer have the constant, redirecting, catching up on school work. The stress is gone. This Thanksgiving, we have peace.

From James and Edie Cook in Georgia

Cooks benefiting from school choice
We are grateful to have the opportunity for our daughter, Haley Rae, to attend Mountain Area Christian Academy. We are forever thankful that she has the chance to receive a Christ-centered, quality education with smaller class sizes. The Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program is the answer to our prayers. We are so very thankful for our blessing of a Christian education so our daughter may reach her true potential.

From Paul McMahon in Indiana

At this time of year, it is natural to think about the things we are thankful for. Our health as well as the health of our friends and family, the rights and liberties we enjoy as Americans, and the essentials like food, shelter, and clothing accessible to us in this country.

While clearly we cannot put a price on the first two items, we are forced to on a daily basis when we make decisions whether or not to purchase or hold off on purchases of the third item. In challenging economic times such as these, families are compelled to focus on our budgets and make choices to maximize their family’s limited economic resources.

This year, my family will be adding the Friedman Foundation and School Choice Indiana to the list of things we are thankful for. Because of the efforts of these organizations, my family has the ability to seek out the schools that fit our family best. We have the ability to find schools that will teach the principles and morals we believe in, offer the highest educational standards, and promote learning, growth, and development in an atmosphere that is safe and welcoming to all.