Last week hundreds of students from across Missouri came together in Jefferson City to celebrate National School Choice Week in the Capitol Rotunda.
The event kicked off with a visit by Gov. Mike Parson who declared last week School Choice Week in Missouri to coincide with National School Choice Week.
“The only way that we are going to change society is through education,” he said. “People are going to have to have the ability, no matter where you are at, you have to have the ability to get an education.
“All forms should be on the table,” he added. “Kids should have choices. Parents should have choices about where to go to get an education. When you give kids the opportunity to be educated, the opportunity to have soft skills, the opportunity to go into the workforce that is what it should be about.”
Gov. Parson’s proclamation was followed by an hour of exceptional performances by bands, orchestras, choirs and dance troupes that highlighted the quality of education provided by private schools throughout Missouri.
Students, teachers, and school leaders talked about the benefits that schools of choice can offer.
“Everyone deserves to know that they are getting their education somewhere that will further them in life,” said Erynn Tate, a senior at North County Christian School.
Lydia Francis, a student at Marian Hope Academy Christian School for Creative Learning, pointed out how her school helped her deal with ADHD.
“It is important to have small classrooms and not be stressed out,” she said. “It is great to have your needs tailored specifically so you can learn.”
Candice Gill, a student at Summit Christian Academy, said her school gave her all kinds of opportunities and pointed out that expanding school choice programs could help students trapped in failing schools.
“This is the only solution to allow people to have a choice to choose what their child’s destiny looks like instead of it just being the luck of the draw,” she said.
Melissa Leisinger, a fourth-grade teacher at Kingdom Christian Academy, said smaller classes made it easier to challenge students — something she did not have when she was teaching at public schools.
“Every child matters and I want them to all have that choice,” she said.
Angie Knight, of Marian Hope Academy Christian School for Creative Learning, agreed, noting that she saw many students falling through the cracks when she worked in traditional public schools.
“My heart is making sure that every child receives the education they need, and that looks different for different kids,” she said. “To say that every third grader needs to be at the same level just does not make sense for me. There is a need to have an education that is mapped for the child and not the system.”
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