School choice families, supporters, and advocates across the state celebrated on June 30 as Governor Kasich signed the state budget. By doing so, he finalized the creation of the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program.
Angela Dawson, a mother of two children with special needs, is relieved to see this program finally become a reality. Below is her written reaction to the creation of the long-awaited scholarship program.
Being a parent is all about choices. We strive daily to make the best choices for our children knowing each one has the potential to positively or negatively affect our children’s futures. As a parent with chronically ill children the choices I make are even more critical to their futures. I carefully consider who will watch after my children when I can’t. I spend much time and thought searching for the best doctors. I am careful to build a supportive and effective team and to develop a strong support system. But I have never been able to make the equally important decision about which academic setting is best suited to provide my children the best education – until now.
Having the ability and the right to decide the educational setting best suited to educate my children is just as important as deciding which doctor I trust to look after their health or which caregiver I will depend on. It is my responsibility to make these decisions, it is my right to make these decisions and now finally, I am permitted to do so.
For my children having the ability to make this choice means a brighter future. It means finally being able to be surrounded by a team of teachers who see past their disability to their full potential. It means being able to dream big and have the assurance that they will acquire the tools to reach their goals. It means having the stability of a positive learning environment and a strong social network. And it means finally being able to live without the stress our family’s 4 year battle with our home district has caused and being able to get back all their mother’s attention that has been divided for so long. We can begin to focus on tomorrow instead of mourn over the time we’ve lost as a result of this fight.
I can’t possibly express how much this scholarship will change our lives and my children’s futures. I can sleep easier knowing that I have finally been able to place my children in a school who is willing and able to provide the education in which my children are entitled. I can focus on encouraging their dreams, teaching them to care for their health and can start sharing once again in their laughter while looking forward to what they might now become, as a result of this gift of choice, with much excitement and anticipation.
For more information about the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program, click here.