Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Teacher says school choice 'a rewarding and life-changing experience for me'

[Guest post by Erin Goodridge, a music and art teacher at Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy. Below is the text of a letter Mrs. Goodridge distributed to lawmakers at the state capitol today following a successful rally hosted by]

Parents, teachers, and students gathered today near the south steps of the
Oklahoma state capitol building to show their support for parental choice.

These folks from Independence Charter Middle School in Oklahoma City
cheerfully proclaim that they trust parents. (Sadly, not everyone shares that view.)

I am writing this letter to thank you for the opportunity that school choice has offered me as an educator, a parent, and a citizen. This is my first year with Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy, and it has been a both a rewarding and a life-changing experience for me.

I taught in brick-and-mortar schools for 13 years as a music and art educator. I have a passion for teaching and inspiring young minds in the arts. Last year, my husband and I were blessed with our first child, a baby girl. I was torn between my desire to continue my career as an educator and my desire to stay home and raise my daughter. My husband and I both need to work to adequately provide for our family. Reluctantly, I took a leave of absence from my school district and searched for other options.

Last summer, as I searched for alternate job opportunities, I discovered OVCA and K12. The concept of teaching online from home intrigued me, so I applied. It seemed too good to be true: I could raise my daughter at home and continue my career as a teacher? I was hired as OVCA’s middle school art and music teacher. My job at OVCA has been an answer to my prayers and has allowed my husband and I to raise our daughter at home. I am also able to further my career as an arts educator and stay current through professional development opportunities. We also have saved a considerable amount of money since there is no need for my daughter to be enrolled in daycare. School choice has given me the ability to do two things that are incredibly important to me: be a stay-at-home mom and continue my career in education! I had never thought it possible before now.

Thank you for making it possible for people like me to follow my dreams. I hope you will continue to allow school choice to be an important part of education in Oklahoma. It has made such a difference for our family.

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