Reimagining Education

Meet Lisa Smith: A Mother’s Fight for School Choice

Lisa Smith – proud mom and dedicated advocate.

Lisa Smith, a resilient mother from St. Louis County, embarked on a journey advocating for school choice driven by a mother’s love and an unwavering commitment to ensuring her child’s safety and quality education. 

Lisa’s story unfolds with the harrowing experiences her child faced within the traditional school system, including a traumatic incident during a fire drill and an attack by another student.

Fueled by love and a commitment to improve educational access for all Missouri children, Lisa became an actively engaged parent volunteer at her neighborhood school. Her collaborative efforts with school administrators showcased not only dedication but also a profound commitment to creating a safer environment for her child and others. Despite her dedication, Lisa’s concerns were often unaddressed. When she took those concerns to her school board, she was met with silence. Shockingly, she found herself banned from all district properties based on unjust allegations. Devastated, Lisa made the courageous decision to homeschool her child.

In her quest for answers, Lisa Smith discovered the MO transfer program, a lifeline that allowed her child to find sanctuary in a quality school in the Mehlville School District. This event marked the beginning of her exploration into the world of school choice. Impressed by CEAM’s dedication to working on statewide legislation for school choice policies and empowering parents, Lisa joined forces with the organization.

Years of fervent advocacy, including testifying in favor of a wide range of school choice measures at the state capitol, meeting with legislators, media interviews, parent recruitment, and hosting community events, showcased her unyielding commitment. As the transfer program concluded, Lisa seamlessly transitioned to MOCAP, embracing the flexibility of virtual schooling. The pandemic further emphasized the need for adaptable education, propelling her into a new era of learning. MOCAP, the Missouri Course Access and Virtual School Program, offered her child a chance to learn from the safety of their home while providing equal access to a wide range of high-quality courses and interactive online learning.

Lisa’s advocacy efforts reached a pinnacle with the MOScholars scholarship program (HB 349), which allowed K-12 students enrolled in public school to receive a $6,375 scholarship to customize their child’s education, paying for private school tuition, homeschooling, virtual school, therapy, tutoring, transportation, and more. Witnessing the jubilation as she stood beside the governor during the bill signing, Lisa secured a scholarship and enrolled her child in a nearby private school, marking a new chapter in his educational journey, a journey towards a high-quality education and boundless possibilities. Lisa had finally obtained the long-awaited school choice option she had passionately fought for, proving that persistence can indeed pave the way to educational empowerment.

Lisa emphatically asserts that school choice options are paramount in Missouri; parents must have the freedom to choose the best educational path for their child. According to her, providing parents with school choice options is key to ensuring the success of students. This belief is rooted in the understanding that when parents have the ability to choose, they can tailor their child’s education, leading to greater opportunities for success.

Lisa’s remarkable journey stands as a testament to resilience, determination, and a fervent belief in the transformative potential of school choice. From adversity to triumph, her story illuminates the power of parental advocacy and the pressing need to reimagine education for the ever-evolving needs of our children.

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