Tyrell's Story Focuses Us on 2013 Education Reform Struggle Ahead

A few weeks ago I was one of the first to share the bad news that a judge had struck down one of Louisiana’s school choice programs that offered hope and opportunity to so many students. Well, I couldn’t think of a better way to end a year of blogging — yep, this is the last one from me for 2012 — than to share a powerful story of a young life negatively affected by the ruling.

The American Federation of Children brought my attention to a piece written by school choice champion Kevin Chavous about 14-year-old Louisiana voucher scholarship recipient named Tyrell. This young man’s outlook improved greatly at the private school he’s been able to attend the past few years. Troubled so much by a lawsuit against the program that enabled his turnaround that he was losing sleep, Tyrell showed up at the courthouse where the program’s fate was being decided:

“I had to come,” he said. “When I heard I might lose my scholarship, I got scared at the thought that I might have to go back to my old school, which would be horrible. I’ve been worrying about this so much, I can’t even sleep at night.”

For Tyrell and the thousands of other kids affected by Judge Kelley’s ruling, this isn’t about funding mechanisms or school systems — it’s personal. It’s also personal for the thousands of children who applied this year for a scholarship but were turned away as a result of limited space.

The good news for Tyrell and thousands of his peers is that the Louisiana Supreme Court has a chance to overturn the ruling and provide a remedy that gives many families the opportunity to choose a better educational option. In our backyard, the same is true for the Colorado Court of Appeals and students who can be served by the Douglas County Choice Scholarship Program.

And nowhere I can think of next year will be more important in the struggle for educational freedom and excellence than right down the road in Douglas County. Like me, enjoy your holiday break (presents!!!), then get ready to buckle your safety belts and come back for both the bumps & bruises and the rewarding moments that 2013 promises to bring!