I am a public school parent who chose to send my child to a public charter school. It is with a heavy heart that I read Grant Miller’s opinion piece criticizing our teachers’ attempt to get a fair share of tax referendum dollars for teachers and school security that I, and many parents like me, voted for.
I am a taxpayer and a voter. I exercised the freedom given to me, and all parents, through the school choice laws in Florida and send my child to a charter school.
According to the Miami Dade County Public School website: “Charter schools are public schools that operate under contract or ‘charter’ between a governing board and school board.” My child takes the FSA, receives a Miami Dade County Public Schools report card, and has a student number from Miami Dade County Public Schools. Our school is a public school.
Miller writes that the “school board would have no idea where the money would go.” Surely the school board, its many staffers, and in-house attorney can’t figure out a mechanism to ensure teachers receive raises from a voter-approved referendum. This is the same school board that already monitors other funding like per student allocation from the state, and federal free- and reduced-lunch program dollars that charter schools and their students receive.
The school board is supposed to work on behalf of the voters who elected them, and the children in this county — including my child. Our charter school is just what my child needed. The parents of the 68,000 students in Miami Dade who attend a charter school also feel they found a public school option that is a right fit for their child.
When I was a child, the only option was the school that was assigned to my family by our ZIP code or to pay for a private education. I am grateful that things have changed, and that there are now options for every child. — not just those whose parents can afford a home in a neighborhood with a great school, or private school tuition.
We live is a great state that offers parents many public school options like magnet programs, our assigned neighborhood school, and charter schools. I took advantage of that option and want my child and her teacher to be treated with respect and not shortchanged.
I support public education and school choice, and as a parent will always advocate for both. I ask the Miami Dade School Board to stand by all the students and voters they serve, and treat all public school teachers with respect.
Elaine Villadiego is a charter school parent. She drafted the letter in response to Mr. Grant Miller’s editorial about the tax referendum (published on February 12, 2019). Ms. Villadiego can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.