Opinion: This is why education choice is so important in Utah
Low-income parents who may desperately need different education options for their child simply have little or no hope in providing those. How is that fair or right?
My family has three boys. All very different. All with different learning styles.
Our two oldest attended a public charter school for several years. It was a pretty good fit for our oldest, but the school’s methods were destroying our middle son’s love of learning. He felt like a constant failure. It was affecting his happiness and causing us turmoil as a family. As parents, this was breaking our hearts to watch.
We learned about an incredible model of education called Acton Academy that seemed perfect for our children. We did everything in our power to figure out how to manage paying for tuition. Finances are tight, but our boys are now absolutely thriving there.
My middle son loves learning again. Sometimes, they actually complain about wanting to be back at school during holidays.
In the second year of our older children attending Acton, our youngest was now school age. The tuition was already a very difficult stretch for us, but now we had to pay for three. How would we do this? Thankfully, I was given the opportunity to work at the school to help cover the cost of tuition. It was a big sacrifice to take on a full-time job, but we determined the education of our sons was well worth this sacrifice.
Currently, there is legislation being considered that puts children first. HB331, the Hope Scholarship Program, sponsored by Rep. Candice Pierucci, R-Herriman, would provide scholarships based on income levels to help families customize their child’s education to best fit his or her learning needs.
Most families are not as blessed as we were to be offered employment from the education option of their choice to help them pay the cost. Low-income parents who may desperately need different education options for their child simply have little or no hope in providing those. How is that fair or right? Their child deserves to succeed as much as mine or yours. The Hope Scholarship Program is targeted at helping them the most.
Even though my family might qualify for only the smallest amount of scholarship through HB331, it would be a blessing to our budget to recoup some of the tax dollars we pay to fund public education and put those toward defraying the cost of our boys’ education.
Public schools don’t work for every student, and there are many legitimate reasons why. This bill is about helping those children.
All children deserve to have access to a high-quality education that works for them. Their futures and our futures depend on it. The Hope Scholarship Program will provide that opportunity and give all families the chance to provide the best education and learning environment for their children to succeed!
This bill provides hope. I hope you’ll join me in supporting it.
Britney Mendel is a mother of three living in Herriman, Utah.