All Ohio parents should be able to choose a school that best suits their child’s individual needs, regardless of their income or home address. Our state’s legislators have an opportunity to make that a reality for more students and provide the hope and confidence that comes from a quality education.
Legislators are currently considering a bill that combines existing scholarships into the Ohio Opportunity Scholarship program. This will provide the most funding for those at the bottom of the economic ladder and ensure parents have the information necessary to make informed choices for their children.
The majority of students and families are being served well by their traditional public schools. But parents recognize that each child learns differently. We have a moral obligation to offer an opportunity to students who need and deserve options beyond the school they are mandated to attend based strictly on their home addresses.
The most important goal is to ensure all children have access to a quality education that provides the hopes and ability for them to pursue their dreams. Some forget the struggles many parents face in educating their children.
They can’t move to another neighborhood or pay private school tuition if their assigned public school isn’t performing well or is just the wrong fit for their child.
They can’t afford tutors when their children are struggling in a subject or enrichment programs, summer camps to maintain learning gains, or classes to prepare for college admission tests.
They don’t know somebody who knows somebody who can get their kids an inside track in life.
For these children, a high-quality K-12 education is their only shot at a leg up in life. There are no do-overs for an inadequate education.
Our students must graduate high school with the knowledge, skills and ability to pursue their dreams in college and a career.
Nobody understands this better than parents who are living paycheck to paycheck while caring for their children. They know the reality of struggling in the workplace while their kids struggle in school. And they want their children to have “better.”
I encourage Ohio’s legislators to give these parents the same right that many take for granted – the ability to find a better learning environment for their children. Regardless of our backgrounds, each and every parent deserves the same opportunity to seek the best options for their kids.
Dee Bagwell Haslam is a member of ExcelinEd in Action Board of Directors, owner of the Cleveland Browns, Partner Pilot Corporation and CEO of RIVR Media Companies.
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