Ignite Legal: Tara Childs on Why School Choice?
Educate, collaborate and act—let's take our schools back!
Written by: Tara Childs
Who am I?
I am a teacher, parent of two college-aged kids and one teacher who is getting married in two months. In my community, I have been fighting for our freedoms and for schools to open without ridiculous, uncalled for mandates such as masks, chemicals and distancing. We rally about once a week, but through my journey, I realized opening schools was linked to voting, health and curriculum choices, and freedoms. I fight for parents, guardians and their children and their children’s children! Educate, collaborate and act—let's take our schools back!
I believe in “yes!” so when I heard parents stressed about what to do with their kids and the lack of education they were receiving from online instruction, plus the concern with the indoctrination of children with an inappropriate sex-ed program, I realized I needed to do something. Some parents in my community had mentioned school choice way back in June, desiring to obtain the money they pay for taxes to be used for their kids since schools are not educating. Corey DeAngelis, Director of School Choice, Reason Foundation says this money trail is a big concern. He suggests that money should follow kids with an educational savings account. His thinking supported the concerns of our local parents. Most things in life such as businesses, if they don’t open, they get shut down due to loss of revenue, while governmentally funded schools fight to remain closed, yet still, receive funds for fully educating children! This is not okay! I see many teachers trying to educate kids in amazing ways, but the on-line platform does not allow for different learning styles. In addition, kids are lonely and unable to practice social skills, necessary for their future. Families are stressed often losing one income to teach their kids at home. So many buildings, built and maintained with our money, are sitting empty! This is not okay! 8 million children are affected and this needs to change. Give our kids a choice.
Currently the wealthy can afford tutoring, private school options while the most vulnerable are sitting at home often unsupervised, watching a computer screen. Evening the playing field is critical. If the school doesn’t open, parents or guardians should be able to take their funds elsewhere. Hurting children walk to my school in Pasco, Washington for lunch and to check out books. They want to talk and hang around. People need people! The fifth-grader I spoke to today told me that things are not well, learning online is terrible. This Is not okay! Give our kids a choice.
I never thought I would be in this situation to fight for school choice, after teaching for 20 years in the public school system. But honestly, I never was happy with what my kids were receiving. As a single mom with 3 kids, I didn’t have any other choice. My kids were being taught to follow without thinking, not act and interpret information. With the recent tyranny and grotesque overstepping of our state government shutting down our schools, action was needed. School choice initiatives would allow our tax money to follow the backpack of the child. This idea is not new. In fact, 29 other states have systems of school choice in action. By supporting the work of Liv Finne from Washington Policy Center and Vickie Kraft, a Washington State representative, with Ignite’s support and each of you, we can make this a viable bill for Washington state giving parents and teachers flexibility and creating competition. Competition will breed stronger schools fighting for our business, that want to educate your students, be fiscally responsible and provide different options for different kids and teachers.
Personally, I have a dream of teaching at a Science Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) school that is an integral part of the community. I want a school that gets the kids out into the real world to volunteer in the community in an age-appropriate way and intentionally works to make the world a better place. Each student has a future they are responsible for and I want to see them get out and achieve that! The public school system is such a bureaucracy. Even getting kids on a field trip is a huge undertaking. Break down the walls of the traditional school and allow kids to lead solving real-world problems. School choice has an option for us all! I fight for parents and guardians, children and their children’s children!
Educate, collaborate and act—Let's take our schools back!
About the Author
I am a difference maker with grit! I am a librarian at an elementary school in Pasco, Wa and have taught for over 20 years. My focus in library is teaching virtues which are our choices. Superpowers we can refine. We all have superpowers we can use them to make our world a better place. I teach kids to be intuitive and act on those intuitions, to be brave, resourceful, open-minded, responsible, respectful, kind and never give up. We practice these things in my library. Directing plays with kids is a passion also as I love putting the kids in uncomfortable situations where they realize they can accomplish big things. I teach my students to be difference makers and must hold myself to the same standard.
Activism has always been in my heart, wanting to help those less fortunate. When I was teaching in Moses Lake, working at a low-income school, a passion was placed on my heart to build a park for those without. A park built by the community and designed by the kids was a must. I felt that if they helped build it, they would value it. It was a tiring project, one that took many hours, long nights and tears, but after 3 years, it became a reality! I realized that I was capable to do anything I put my heart and mind to. You have to understand, it was no easy feat in a community against a park, me not being a long-time resident, a single mom with three young kids, working full time. But I was unstoppable. A miracle...the park many said would never emerge, did!