Why Are We Not Considered Smart Enough To Choose Our Child’s School?

School Choice
I never understood what the big deal was about being able to choose in so many areas of our life, but not the future of our children?

I can choose whether or not to continue my pregnancy. The country is finally moving toward allowing me to decide who I will marry. I can choose to work a minimum wage job until my knowledge, skills and abilities prepare me for a higher paying one.  I can choose who to vote for or what faith fills the aching in my soul. There are certain limitations on some of these choices, but people have fought for our ability to choose.

Why is it then, unless I have a lot of money, I don’t have a choice in where to send my children to school? We all pay for public education and it has been a system that served us well over the years, but it’s time to reconsider the options. We are  falling behind other countries in the education of our children.

I’ve heard the concerns about private schools being unwilling or unable to accommodate children with special needs or those coming from families with severe economic challenges. Separation of church and state has always been part of the argument since “the government” should not financially support religious organizations.

However, what we are doing, in many cases, is not working. As a parent, I should be able to choose where I send my child to school and have a voucher to make that happen. Schools that are part of the voucher program should be required to have programs available for students with special challenges. Wouldn’t parents of special needs children like options, too? If I, as a parent, want my child to attend a faith based school, I should have that choice. Not all children learn the same way and we need to have the ability to select the school that best fits the individual needs of our child, not only those that meet the needs of the majority, leaving others behind.

We can make this option work for ourselves, our children and our dedicated educational professionals. It’s not about preserving the status quo, it’s about giving our children a solid foundation for their future. It’s a BIG DEAL and we should get over the politics and put the needs of our children first.

Dreaming of a Million Dollars

turning over the money in the hands

This week I was asked what I would do if I had a million dollars. That’s a tough question. After paying off my house and taking my extended family on a memorable vacation, I’d try to make a difference.

There are so many charities and other organizations that are focused on encouraging and inspiring people. Since that’s what I’m passionate about, I would begin here:

  • Contribute to The Giving Lens, an organization supporting international non-profits and impacting children through photography: I’m hoping to join them on a trip later this year or in early 2015.
  • Create a program similar to The Giving Lens, but in my own community: As I travel, I’m very aware that the majority of young people will never have the same opportunity. I’d love to give students the chance to see the world in a new way through photography and trips to places where they have never been.
  • Support the Wounded Warrior Project and similar charities: There is not much I can do for members of our military and their families that would make up for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of me and my family. WWP is an organization I have contributed to in the past and plan to support in the future.

What I found interesting about this thought process was the recognition that I don’t have to wait for a cash windfall to contribute to incredible causes. It may not be a million dollars, but even a small amount of money or my time can make a difference.

Now, back at ‘cha! What would you do?

Happy Easter!

It was a beautiful Colorado spring day with plenty of eggs to hide, burgers to eat and games to play.

I’m thankful that I have a wonderful, and at times, crazy family to share it with. I’m hoping that we will have everyone here next year. It’s time for another family photo.

Thank you, Lord.

I hope you had a wonderful Easter, too!

The Children of God

God walks this world on the pads of our feet,
He hears the cries
and sees the tears of His children
through our ears and eyes.

And He touches His children with our hands…
loving, cradling, strengthening.
He speaks the hope and encouragement of His love
through our mouths.

God is in us
and works through us.
Open your arms,
cradle, encourage and love…
The Children of God.

Jennifer Steck©1996