By Cheryl Coleman
Every parent wants the best for their child, especially when it comes to education and living in a safe neighborhood. I believe in order to get these things you must start with a good education. If someone had said to me 11 years ago to send my daughter to a private school I would have laughed and said NOPE she is going to her home school in Prince George’s County Maryland. Well, guess what? Fast forward 11 years and my daughter is in private school in Washington, D.C. and we live in Maryland.
School is the place where kids learn values. When I visited our home public school and went to the class where my daughter would have been placed and counted 40 students in this one room with one teacher, my first thought was “we are not coming here.” My second thought was “these teachers must be overwhelmed with overcrowded classrooms. They cannot possibly meet the needs of every student. Will my daughter just be another number in a large school with 40-plus kids in each classroom?
Because schools are zoned in my area you have to go to the school in your zip code. At the time, our school was rated a 2 out of 10. Needless to say, this is where my private school journey began. Because I work in Washington, D.C. I started my search there and the very first school I visited I fell in love with. I got that warm fuzzy feeling the minute I walked in the door. The classroom sizes were much smaller. The school personnel were welcoming and caring. The students were quietly learning and participating in class. It was the place that I knew I wanted my daughter to be.
I also knew that choosing a private school would challenge my daughter with higher academic rigor. However, what was most important to me was I knew this school would incorporate many of my own values into her everyday learning and she would not just be another number.
I am fully aware that I drive past a lot of schools on my way to drop my child off at school every morning. But, it’s what I and my husband choose to do and after all, isn’t that what being in this country all about? The freedom to have choice? I could get into the fact that I did not want my daughter to be a part of a school system that is seemingly always riddled with some sort of investigation of wrongdoing. Learning about teachers who are pedophiles and administrators who change grades was enough to make me say no…just no.
The challenges with traditional public schools have not stopped. I know there are some good public schools and that’s fine. However, for my child I choose to live in Maryland and send my daughter to school in D.C.