I’m an advocate for school choice because it gives parents like myself the chance to explore education opportunities outside of their neighborhood. Being able to choose the school gives us more options beyond what is available in our neighborhood, which is often not a lot.

I have experienced firsthand the powerful impact being able to attend school outside of your neighborhood has on a family. My daughter attended a private school in our neighborhood for pre-K and kindergarten. I wasn’t impressed with how things were going with my kid’s learning and social experiences. I knew it was time to move on to a different school, but we didn’t see a great option near where we live.

I started working for Algiers Charter School Association around that time, and after doing some research on the various schools in the Algiers community, I was very impressed. I was excited to learn that my kids didn’t have to live in Algiers to attend them. Both of my kids are now attending Martin Behrman Charter School Academy of Creative Arts and Sciences (second and sixth grade). Behrman Charter offers an excellent academic program, as well as music and arts for all.

If it weren’t for school choice, I’m not sure what kind of education my kids would be exposed to. Being able to choose gave my kids and me a chance to get involved and learn more about the public charter school experience.

In other cities, you have to send your kids to whatever school is closest to your home. I know families that have moved just to make sure their kids attend a certain school. I also know parents who are paying tuition because they aren’t satisfied with their neighborhood’s school. Many families just have to deal with the schools that are closest because they can’t afford to send their kids to private schools or to relocate to a different part of the city to attend the school that they favor.

It’s not fair that when you are not satisfied with your neighborhood’s school that your only other option is to pay for your child’s education. This puts an unfair limit on the kid’s education opportunities. We need fewer, not more, limitations where our youths’ education is concerned.

I’m very grateful for school choice for the simple fact that I’m not restricted to having my kids attend a school just because it’s near my house. We have options, and options are very important when it comes to our youths’ educational experiences. In today’s society, we need as many options as possible so that all of our kids have a chance at success.

Deonka Williams

Algiers Charter School Association employee

New Orleans