Education designed for everyone and every learning need
Every day we are greeted by options—from the many products available through local grocery stores to the millions of apps available on smartphones. So, why would we expect anything different in education?
As Georgia’s schoolchildren head back to class this month, it’s a question worth pondering: Should education be a one-size-fits-all issue? For many students, their locally zoned and assigned school is indeed the best option. But other families need alternative options to help their children succeed.
Students in poverty
Think of students like those in Atlanta’s 30314 zip code, one of the poorest and most crime-ridden areas in the country.
This small slice of Atlanta accounts for six out of every 10 murders in the city. In just this one ZIP Code alone, about 40 percent of people live below the poverty line. And the median household income is just $25,000 a year.
While we all want to see public schools improve in this area, that cause will take years if not decades. Meanwhile, more and more students will fall behind and, in many cases, into a life of crime.
For students in the 30314, we can’t afford to wait another day, another week, another month, or another year. They need options right now—options like Bright Futures Academy, a school specifically designed to give kids a solid shot at getting the good education they need to thrive in life and succeed as adults.
Students with special needs
Or take the example of students with special needs. In many instances, local schools are ill-equipped to handle the unique needs of these students. That was certainly the case for Cammie Alkire and her daughter, Savannah, who has had severe learning disabilities from an early age.
Cammie calls Savannah “her million-dollar child” because that’s how all of the medical care and therapies have cost over the years.
Although the Alkires support the local public school system (Cammie is a graduate of Forsyth County Public Schools), they weren’t willing to subject Savannah to another year of bullying in order to qualify for Georgia’s Special Needs Scholarship.
Today, Savannah is enrolled in a small private Christian school that’s meeting her unique needs. But the Alkires struggle each month to meet the cost of her care entirely on their own.
“These are the kids who fall through the cracks. They get bullied. They turn out to be cutters. They are emotionally and mentally struggling, but not screaming loud enough to hear. And our government refuses to extend any type of financial help to these parents,” Cammie shared with us.
A way forward
Every child is different. That’s why we come alongside families to support the best possible choices for their children, rather than pigeonhole them into only one choice.