Last week, I wrote you about exciting news out of Florida. Strong school choice programs are helping a historic Catholic high school reopen in Key West. This story is not unique. In states across the country and elsewhere in Florida, school choice is helping schools rebound from historic struggles during the pandemic.

Another story reminds me of why it’s so important to keep supporting and expanding parent choices in education.

In Bolingbrook, Illinois, where far fewer school choice options are available to parents, a Catholic school that is a “bedrock of the community” will soon close. The administration had been having internal discussions about finances for years; the parents and families were left feeling blindsided and devastated.

This situation is all too common.

It’s what is at risk when the true costs of Catholic education pile up, schools can no longer make up the difference, and parents cannot afford to cover the price.

We fight for school choice so that no community has to face that dilemma.

Families should be able to access some of their tax dollars for education to use at the school of their choice, including Catholic schools.

Here’s the bottom line:

Every family should have access to a school that works for them.

And no school should have to close if it is serving critical needs in the community.

Let’s keep fighting for that world.

PS: Keep reading to hear a story of one student from Venezuela whose life was changed thanks to school choice

I know that I am standing on the shoulders of giants. I’ve gone from being helped by others to helping others. I’ve found my place, my path, and I have clear goals for my future.  

My family immigrated to the United States from Venezuela when I was 12 years old. In Venezuela, my mother was a lawyer by trade. Since her credentials couldn’t carry over with our green cards, she was required to take on multiple jobs. My mom went from being a lawyer to working at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for 12 hours a day. She came home exhausted, but happy to see us and to hear that we were doing well in school. My parents will do anything to ensure my brother, and I get a quality education. 

My parents don’t have a lot of faith in public institutions because of the way Venezuela has declined. Therefore, I’ve always attended private school. For them, that was the answer. They wanted a school that would instill in us the values of hard work, discipline, and the pursuit of greatness. They hoped that private institutions would do that. So, although we struggled financially, they paid out- of -pocket for us to attend a private school.

In the eighth grade, when the time came to find a high school to attend, I heard about Christopher Columbus High School from some friends. I have friends whose dads, grandfathers, uncles, cousins, brothers, etc. have all gone to this school. I am not a legacy student, but I knew I had to attend Columbus. And my parents made it happen. They put their pride in the art of education. 

My unofficial motto is: Never give up and use your shortcomings and hardships as motivation to excel in the classroom and beyond. 

My freshman year at Columbus was financially strenuous on my family. We got so behind in payments that I was almost forced to drop out. That’s when we found out about the Step Up for Students scholarship! I am incredibly grateful because it allowed me to stay at Christopher Columbus High School. 

To pay tuition to two private schools, we lived in a small apartment with one bathroom, and we didn’t always have electricity and water. Now we’re in a nicer home, our electricity bill gets paid, and our water doesn’t get cut off. 

Read Jorge’s full story here: