One of the countless ideals that renders this country great is the belief that everyone has the opportunity for education – regardless of race, gender, or any other demographic. Unfortunately, many of our educational systems are broken. The students don’t want to learn and the teachers don’t want to teach. This is true of school systems everywhere, from the innermost districts of inner cities to tiny rural and suburban counties. Typically, most students are apathetic, at best, to education, success, and their futures. However, there are a variety of different options in my county. There are three private schools, an outstanding home school group, and multiple home school/private school blends. Living in this school district, I have seen firsthand what happens when students are given the opportunity to choose which school to attend. They are free to find a passion for learning. They are able to pick their priorities – academics or athletics, politics or theater. As someone who has attended every school type in my district, I understand the necessity of school choice.
The first school I attended was a mid-sized public elementary school. On my first day of kindergarten, I entered the room with a wonder only a kindergartner could have – excited, ready, and a little scared. It seemed that every one of the twenty-some students in that class felt the same way I did. We were ready to learn to read and write, to make new friends, and to play on that gigantic playground outside. Only a year or two later, so many of those kids lost that readiness to learn. Whether it was due to the lack of money and resources given to the school, the apathy of the teachers, or any other factor, it happened, and happened quickly. As someone who has loved politics and academics for as long as I can remember, I didn’t always fit in too well. So in fourth grade, my parents and I decided it was time for a change.
Beginning in fourth grade, I attended a tiny private school. The teachers were kind and caring. It was a cozy, fun community, and I still have great memories of it; however, it lacked some of the extracurricular and academic opportunities I desired. So after fifth grade, it was time for another change. We decided to try homeschooling.
I have found that many people think homeschooling means wearing pajamas all day, taking off days at random, getting up at 9:00 A.M., and ending school at 12:00 P.M. It doesn’t. For me, homeschooling provided exactly the opportunities and challenges I wanted, but it lacked one thing – other people. I am an extroverted person by nature, so this was difficult for me sometimes. I like to talk – a lot – which is not particularly appreciated when your mom is trying to check your sister’s logic homework. At the end of my eighth grade year, another change was in order.
I am in high school now, participating in a home school/private school blend. I go to a school specifically for home schoolers on some days, and I do my work at home on the other days. It is the perfect blend of challenge and fun. I get the opportunities I need and want, and I still get to see friends and talk people’s ears off.
Of course, I am not saying that public school is a bad option. In fact, for most students, it is a perfectly good one. What I am saying is that it is vital in building the most educated society possible to give students the resources, such as school vouchers, which allow them to choose, without socioeconomic factors to worry about, which method of school to utilize. I believe that deep down, everyone has the ability to find success in education. If attending a private school or being home schooled can help a person to find that ability, then shouldn’t we as a society celebrate it, and give that student the resources he or she needs to do so? A zip code should not dictate a student’s future.
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