“It all started when my children were having difficulty in school. My daughter had cancer back in 2012, while in middle school. Because she was receiving chemo, she was allowed a tutor to come to the house and bring the homework her teachers would assign.”

“The teachers were more relaxed given the situation, and the tutor helped her every step of the way, but there were no quizzes or tests to see if that material was really sticking.”

“She was able to get through that year with good grades – but I knew that she wasn’t really prepared for ninth grade. I asked the public school to hold her back a year, but they said ‘no.’ After she started high school, she really struggled and I decided to pull her.”

“Her little brother, Angel, was always struggling – he’s very high functioning on the autism spectrum, ADHD as well as some other health issues. He started with an Individualized Education Plan around third grade, that was later downgraded to a 504 plan.”

“In sixth grade, he was having lots of difficulty at our local public school. When he started at the middle school, we told them about the situation and asked if they could accommodate him, but they said no to many of our requests. He would always end up having problems with the teachers and the environment and stress would trigger his migraines. The school would put him in in-school suspensions.”

“We pulled him from that school, and we were able to put him at St. Casimir’s thanks to the scholarship from the Children’s Scholarship Fund. He was there all eighth grade and he did amazing.”

“It was night and day for him. He begged us to never send him back to public school. But after his father took on a new job with a higher income, we no longer qualified for the scholarship to make it possible to move to the private high school.”

“If education freedom accounts were around then, we would have been able to afford to send him to the private high school we had wanted. Angel ended up going to a charter school afterwards and he was refused an IEP repeatedly. So, we had to enroll him into an alternative program in the public school.”

“I like saying that these things don’t have to be looked at as either/or – we should look to these solutions from a both/and perspective. Public schools don’t work for everyone and private schools don’t work for everyone. We have it look at it as both/and.”

“We often have too many options with many things, but education isn’t one of them. We should make it possible for parents to choose what works best for their child.”

“I’ve spoken with multiple families who say that education freedom accounts would help out a lot. I know families that are paying for private school out of pocket, who don’t qualify for scholarships. In many instances, any little bit helps and education freedom accounts would go a long way.”

“Education freedom accounts would let parents put that money toward tuition, tutoring, tech training, home-schooling curriculums… they give families the ability to make a choice on the education that works best for their children.”

“As a Hispanic, woman of color, and a leader in my community, I’ve seen firsthand how many of our communities don’t have equal access to educational resources and the same opportunities. This is about leveling the playing field and making the best education accessible to everyone.”

“In this day and age, we talk a lot about diversity, equity and inclusion across the board, and those need to be goals in our educational system. It’s clear to me that education freedom accounts are a huge step forward that would help achieve those goals and level the playing field. This is about removing barriers to help our kids reach their potential.”

Shalimar Encarnacion
Manchester, NH