By Lisa Gomes, BVP Middle School 1 and High School parent.

School choice – You’ve probably heard this term a lot. On the 5 o’clock news or in the paper, from whether there should be school choice at all to how funding for schools breaks down – it’s thoroughly debated. Last year, it was one of the most debated topics during the legislative session. As a parent who has exercised the right to school choice, I am deeply invested in these conversations.

While my support of school choice started with my children, I am invested in this issue for families everywhere. The more I engage parents in conversation, the more I learn that school choice can mean something different for every family. It can mean parents having the ability to choose more rigorous curriculum for children who would benefit from being challenged. It can mean having the ability to choose a program that takes a different approach to a child’s Individualized Learning Plan (IEP) or offers supports to a struggling student in a new way. It can mean having a choice when a child who struggles to fit-in is looking for a place to belong. It also means having the choice to introduce your child to the diversity of the world we live in today when the school in your district may not reflect it.

Every child deserves the right to an education as unique as they are. When I chose to enter my children in the lottery, I did so for various reasons. I wanted to provide them in an environment where they would feel welcome, with teachers that would support them in every way, and with a student body reflective of themselves. I wanted my children to feel that they had as much of a voice in their education as I did. Seeing the wonderful experiences my children have had and the positive outcomes that have resulted, school choice has become even more important to me.

It is my hope that parents within every zip code, in every state will someday be given the opportunity to use THEIR OWN reasons to make a choice that fits their children’s educational needs. This week, I along with so many others around the country celebrate National School Choice Week. I invite you to take this opportunity to celebrate why you’re grateful to have had the opportunity to choose an education that fits your child or share why someday you may want the choice when you have children entering school. To tell the world that school choice should be the norm and that regardless of zip code, race, or economic status every child should have the right to a high-quality public school option.

Lisa Gomes with her two children, BVP scholars Elijah and Makenna