Mothers Speak for Choice

Mothers Speak for Choice
March 12, 2014

Joy Pullmann

Joy Pullmann is a research fellow on education policy for The Heartland Institute and managing... (read full bio)

School Choice Weekly #29

Mothers in New York and Florida this week have sent several clear, compelling messages: Give my child a school choice. In New York City, they’re responding to a threat from Mayor Bill de Blasio against charter schools that work for their kids.

“When I found out the news that the mayor had closed my son’s school, I began to cry, because the local public school is not working,” Courtni Starnes told ReasonTV. “What would you do if the school that worked for your child closed, and you had no other options?”

“We cannot send my son to a failing school,” Evelyn Adeveda told the outlet. “He’s been doing so well, and I can’t send him back. … I can’t set him up for failure.”

In Florida, Chanae Jackson-Baker pushed lawmakers to expand the state’s popular tax-credit scholarship program.

I love teachers. I think it’s a thankless job. And I’m so sick of politicians getting in the way of them doing their job. But the problem is, they just can’t accommodate. Even when I email a teacher, where my kids, the girls, go to [private] school at, I get a response back by the end of the day. Some teachers where my son goes to [public] school, I can’t get an email back in two weeks, although the policy says I need to get it back in 48 hours. But I cannot be mad at them when they have 40 students times five. My son is in ninth grade. He’s one of 953. When he leaves there and goes to the [private] school he’s going to next year, he’ll be one of 25. …

So I’m willing to battle in order to give my kids an education. I’m here to let people know, we have to give our children choices. Even with me, it didn’t just inspire my children. When I saw that they could do anything, I saw that I can do anything. I graduated with my bachelor’s in psychology this year. That’s one thing I never thought I would be able to do. …

I’m so really disturbed that so many people are upset. We’re talking dollars and cents. If you don’t give them choices, it costs $17,338 a year to house a prisoner. If you don’t give them choices, they are the welfare recipients, the food stamp recipients and the Medicare recipients. You have to give them choices.

Most mothers may not be steeped in what income bracket is “appropriate” to extend vouchers to, but we know better than anyone in the universe what environment helps our kids thrive. Those little hearts that first began to beat inside our bodies must also have synced our own, so that a mother’s out of tune until her kids’ hearts sing. The intimate knowledge mothers and fathers have of their child is what makes them his best advocate. Education policy should foster, not frustrate, their expertise.



School Choice Roundup

  • DC: Among the few cuts inside the latest budget proposal from the Obama administration is the DC voucher program. Given President Barack Obama’s recent focus on helping needy young black men succeed, he should instead expand vouchers, if anything, says Patrick Wolf.