“I’m thinking of their well being; I want them to be successful,” Sonya Gordon remarks about her children, as she beams with pride and thanksgiving over the opportunities afforded to her family because of Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account program.
Sonya lives on one of Arizona’s many Indian Reservations – territories with neighborhood schools that, statistically, are some of the worst in the nation. According to the American Federation for Children, 90% of reservation schools are rated C, D or F. For Sonya and her eldest daughter Sunshine, it meant an inadequate education that didn’t prepare her for a bright future.
In 2015, when Arizona expanded their ESA law to include families on tribal lands, Sonya applied for and received education funds from the state to chose from a menu of customized options her daughter’s education.
Because of the financial resources provided by her Empowerment Scholarship Account, Sunshine is now enrolled at St. Michael’s School, an academically rigorous institution that is pushing her to succeed and will open up more future opportunities.
Like the Visser Family, the Gordon Family serves as a reminder that the measure of success in the public policy realm is not merely the passage of a bill, but whether or not that bill actually helps the families it was intended to help. On that front, ESA’s have a strong history of success, empowering both parents and students with hope for a better future.
Sonya Gordon’s dreams and concerns for her children are no different than those of parents right here in South Carolina. And just like Sonya, the sad truth is that far too many Palmetto State parents are hampered by lack of education choice that would change the trajectory of their child’s education and life.
Like in Arizona, one answer to the plea of so many parents is the life-changing opportunity created by the customized education experience that Education Savings Accounts provide. Which is why we need them in South Carolina!