I am a parent of a Boise School District 2022 graduate and have been in the trenches to keep my child safe from harmful curriculum. In response to the recent article written by Sarah Anne entitled Senator Tammy Nichols Unveils ‘School Choice’ Legislation, I would like to give an average Idaho parent’s perspective.
School Choice. What is that? I have noticed different perspectives from those that want to keep what is in place because we already have school choice. Parents have the choice to send their kids to a government school, government charter school, private school, pods, or even homeschool. Is that really choice though? If you look at it, every Idaho citizen, even nationally, pays taxes all year round for government schools. Parents with the means, ability and willingness to sacrifice for their children are able to pay the extra money or budget that extra penny to send their student to the school they chose. However, their tax dollars automatically still fund the government schools that they do not want to subject their children to. Also, what about the Mom and Dad that work forty plus hours a week and live paycheck to paycheck. A heavy pressure is put on the parents that do not want to send their children to the current government school system and long for the opportunity to have them go to a private school or homeschool. Are these burdens really a choice? Does it have to be this hard?
The idea to shop around for other schools was when my child brought home a disturbing poetry writing assignment. Why was an English assignment teaching my child about the secular religion collectivism? I ended up testifying at the Education Taskforce 2021. Around this time I enrolled my child in a government virtual academy school since I worked from home. I unfortunately started to find questionable things in online surveys and other Government class assignments. The Director and teachers were understanding, but I eventually did not permit my child to take online surveys any longer. Looking back, it would have been wonderful if this ESA opportunity was available.
In 2022 there was a House Education Committee hearing of a Hope Scholarship that I was set to testify in favor for. Unfortunately the time expired to hear public testimony and I was left to observe. It wasn’t a perfect bill, but it was a great step in the right direction for those paycheck to paycheck parents to experience a new opportunity for their children and see their tax dollars follow the student. There was a glimpse of ‘Hope’ with a majority Republican committee, all to my dismay it failed in committee.
Now Senator Tammy Nichols has given Idaho parents another opportunity and it’s even better than the Hope Scholarship. Everyone is covered in this. The parent has to renew annually (page 3), the government is not permitted to exercise control over non-public or home schools (page 6). The ESA tax dollars also give parents an opportunity for additional help such as educational therapies, tutoring, vocational and even extra-curricular activities to name a few. Referencing Sarah Anne’s article above, many Idahoans with children are not homeschool parents or a Satanist. They are normal parents that struggled to pay for Occupational Therapy and Tutoring outside of the government school, along with sacrificing financially to send their children to private or alternative pod schools.
Even though my child is no longer in the government school system, I plan to support those that feel like they are trapped in the system and put a stop to tax funding that shapes students minds rather than teach reading, writing and arithmetic. I do not appreciate the confusion from misreading an RS (Routing Slip) and lumping good old-fashioned parents that are for this true School Choice opportunity as potential Satanists. I fully support Senator Tammy Nichol’s RS Freedom in Education Savings Accounts (ESA) and ask Senator Dave Lent to hear this important RS and get it recorded as a bill so that the representatives the Idaho voters elected to represent them have a voice.
This Op-Ed was submitted by Christi Warhurst. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.
Tags: Education, Education Funding, Education Taskforce, ESA, Idaho Education Taskforce, Idaho Freedom Caucus, School Choice, Senator Dave Lent, Senator Tammy Nichols