In a year like no other, we are called upon to act. Who we vote for – and how – are deeply personal decisions. But the choices we make in the coming days will impact our communities and our nation for years to come. For Jay Keller, our director of outreach and operations, that work begins by supporting public schools.
In communities across the country, families are grappling with new ways of learning during the coronavirus pandemic. My own children are out of the house now, but as a parent, my concern for their intellectual and emotional growth – not to mention the world they will inherit – never fades.
My wife and I felt strongly about making sure our children had a good education. For us, a good education was not just about the schools they attended or the classes they took. It was also about exposure to a diversity of backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures. Both my wife and I attended public and secular private schools. I went to public schools from kindergarten to high school and attended a private non-sectarian college. My wife grew up overseas, attended a private non-sectarian American school until 10th grade, then went to a public high school in New Jersey and a private non-sectarian university for undergraduate and religiously affiliated graduate school.
My sons attended public schools from kindergarten through high school in one of the country’s most diverse school systems. Friends of different backgrounds, faiths, and cultures have helped make them, in my humble opinion, the beautiful adults they are today.
Ensuring that every child receives a quality education is a top priority for parents across the country. But instead of investing in high-quality public schools, state and local governments are increasingly embracing funding programs that redirect taxpayer dollars away from public schools and toward private, often religious, alternatives. All too often, we see challenges as arguments for pulling funding and moving it to private schools instead of looking for ways to strengthen public schools. However, repeated studies of voucher programs across the country show that vouchers result in worse test scores for students and have a minimal impact on graduation rates.
Especially in these challenging times we need to strengthen, not weaken, public schools, making sure they are places where our kids, grandkids, and future generations have the tools to learn and thrive in a world where diversity abounds. This year, we’re voting to support public schools for the kids in our family, the neighborhood, and future generations to come. I hope you’ll join us.
Explore our Vote 2020 resources and make your voice heard.