School Choice Is Under Attack: It’s Time For Politicians to Put Families First

When I was a young girl, I didn’t understand the jargon surrounding school choice. All I knew was that my mom asked permission for me to attend middle school in a neighboring school district. My parents would constantly remind me of the reasoning behind their choice. They were convinced that I would receive a better education in the wealthier county across the bridge from our home, which my local schools were not able to offer me.

My parents did their research, put in the work, and advocated for me to be able to attend strong schools that would prepare me for college. Due to the supportive and rigorous education I obtained at my charter high school, I was able to attend college and am now serving as a teacher at the same school. My parents exercised their right to make a choice about my education. This week, politicians at the state capitol are denying families, like my parents, their right to make informed decisions about their students’ education by attempting to limit their choices.

Assembly Bill 1505 passed yesterday in the State Assembly, much to the disappointment of families present who were advocating for their right to have choice in their children’s education. According to Cal Matters, this bill “would do away with state and county appeals for denied charter applications and give local school districts the sole power to authorize charters in California. The bill would also give school districts more autonomy over approving or denying a charter, including allowing them to consider a charter’s financial impact on their budgets.”

No parent should be forced to send their child to a failing school due to the simple fact of it being close to their home. While politicians are attempting to deny families choices in schooling, the misinformation about charter schools continues to be spread as well. Families, constituents, and educators should take the time to educate themselves on the realities of school choice and not the lies being spread in Sacramento in the interest of politics. With more and more anti-charter bills in California, it’s time for all of us to make our voices heard. We cannot stand idle as the future of public education in the state is sabotaged by adults hurting black and brown students and families. The students and families of California deserve the respect and right to make informed choices as to where to send their kids to school without having these choices be limited by adults in politics.

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Daniela Felix

Daniela Felix

Daniela is a first generation college student who is heavily involved in education in her home district, West Contra Costa Unified. After becoming a mother at a young age, Daniela’s passion for education justice only intensified and she began to fight for an equitable education for all children, regardless of background or zip code. Daniela played a key role in organizing parents with the California Charter Schools Association and is a firm believer in school choice for all families. She is currently a Lead Organizer with Students for Education Reform, organizing college students around education justice issues in her home district. She was recently accepted into Teach for America and plans to continue impacting the lives of children in her hometown of Richmond, CA as a high school social studies teacher. Daniela is a UC Berkeley senior pursuing her B.A. in Legal Studies and Education along with her 4 year old daughter and husband. Daniela is a firm believer in that every single child is capable of meeting high expectations if given the correct support. Daniela hopes to be a provider of that support.

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