Hi, my name is Debra, and I am a concerned mom. For the past few years, I have been doing everything I can to get my child the education they deserve! I am providing this narrative as a private citizen and wish to share a little history as to why the implementation of EDUCATION choice, through the ESA Program, is so important to all Nevadans.

My child attended a secular private school since the age of two. Progress was measured using SAT scores at the end of the year. According to the results, every year, my child was excelling. Unfortunately, the recession happened and I could no longer afford the tuition. As a result, I was forced to enroll my child in the public-school sector; and what an eye-opening experience that was! One that no parents should ever be forced to endure!

First, the school was teaching two grade levels below my child’s grade level. Trying to correct that, with better curriculum and accelerated lessons, turned out to be a giant fiasco! The first classroom gave my child “memory assignments”, which proved difficult in a classroom with a serious lack of discipline and many distractions from learning anything! Even after I requested a new classroom assignment, the former teacher marked my child’s final weekly lessons with an “F”.

The new classroom was not any better! The first indication? The new teacher instructed the children NOT to raise their hands because the teacher was too busy to answer questions! My child was told that if one child could raise their hand, it would prompt other children to follow suite and there simply was not enough time to assist all the children! But that was not all! The teacher seemed to lose homework and the children were penalized because of it! And, like most other classrooms, discipline was a major problem and that problem contributed to bullying. Bottom line, it was an unsafe environment for my child!

As a result, I had to hire a tutor to maintain my child’s accelerated learning and advanced test scores. We had no choice; but in my opinion, providing my child with an exemplary education, allows my child to follow their dreams. But, the cost of tuition, forced us to look for other “education choices”. We looked at charter schools, online schools, and even considered to “rezone” my child to get them to a better school.

I decided to pursue the online school. What an incredible choice! The first year, my child immediately improved in reading and writing! The school curriculum was mastery based – each lesson and test required a grade of a “B” or better. Also, it allowed my child to test out of a subject previously mastered. This reduced the redundancy of a curriculum and permitted my child to finish a grade early and move on to the next grade.

My child worked independently and checked in with the teacher as needed. This type of environment eliminated the distractions and focused solely on the education. In addition, the school focused on my child’s ambitions to become a scientist. Since the school is aware they provided a rigorous curriculum above grade level for science and math. Additionally, STEM courses were offered in elementary school, which allowed my child to participate in computer coding courses. Further, the school offered dual enrollment, which would have allowed my child to graduate with an HS diploma and an Associate’s Degree, at the same time!

Straight up, the online school was deemed a “threat’ to public education. The school district and many teachers opposed the online school and the Charter Board even considered closing the school due to low graduation rates. In addition, the curriculum was revamped to keep it “more similar” to the public schools. For example, children could no longer work ahead of their grade level, intermediate and advanced courses were taken away, and even the amazing Principal left! Once again, I was forced to research and move my child, once again, to another school.

Upon implementation of the ESA Program, the funds we get will be utilized to enroll my child in a “mastery-based” school with a challenging curriculum. In addition, the Education Savings Account will allow us to purchase a computer, hire a tutor, purchase new books, current materials, better website courses, and pay tuition. It is more than just a better education, it allows the flexibility to fulfill your child’s aspirations! That will not happen in a public school!

My child worries that their dreams of becoming a scientist, currently will not be satisfied due to the inadequate education of our public school system. That’s not my opinion, it’s the facts! Just check Nevada’s education ranking nationally. Don’t look at just this year or even last year’s rankings. Nevada is consistently dead last or near dead last in most all state education rankings. Education Choice is the solution. The ESA Program provides education choice so desperately needed in Nevada.

Parents, you must become more involved in the curriculum offered in the classrooms your child attend. You must demand choice! How will your child succeed and achieve their dreams, if they lack a quality education? Education Choice allows us, parents, to pursue other means as the district works to correct the many issues plaguing it.

SB506 is currently being reviewed in Carson City and if passed will ensure there is a future budget for the ESA Program. Not only must you get involved in your child’s education, you must write to your legislators and Governor Sandoval to support and pass SB506. But, you can do even more. Encourage you Company to support Real Chamber of Commerce. Join today at RealChamberofCommerce.com or call 702-521-0632 and help Real Chamber of Commerce, help you to fight for “Education Choice”. This mom did and I will always fight for what is best for my child! And you?

Debra Joseph is a wife, mother and ardent supporter of education choice! She has fought the battle and wants to make sure the children of Nevada get a better education and Debra believes that comes through with the ESA Program. Debra reached out to Real Chamber of Commerce after hearing about their strong support for education choice through Jim Blockey, the Co-Chairman of the Education Choice Committee with Real Chamber of Commerce.