Why School Choice matters


By: Tanyatta Takeithia Mayo

Founding Teacher Fellow at IDEA Public Schools

This month, families from across the nation will share their stories of the importance of education and why school choice matters in recognition of National School Choice Week.

The week is set aside to educate the community about effective educational options including public schools, private schools, homeschooling, and charter management organizations.

I vividly remember my educational journey. Growing up in public housing in Opelousas, Louisiana, I knew that my trajectory could have been very different, but education was key. My grandmother, a retired educator of more than 30 years, instilled in me the value of education, enrichment, and aspirations at a very young age. I knew I had little choice in the primary schools that I attended, but she taught me that if I dreamed big, I could go anywhere. I now understand more than ever that choosing the best school for your child, to ensure they receive a quality education, is one of the most important decisions that a family will make.

Since my journey with IDEA Public Schools began, I couldn’t be more grateful for the growth and opportunity I have experienced, and the benefits of school choice that I see every day.

As an educator who has worked with charter schools throughout the region, I have seen firsthand the benefits and the opportunities that are afforded to children who are able to choose a school that best fits their needs. This is a right all families deserve and a reason I decided to join the IDEA Public Schools team and family as it expands to Baton Rouge this fall so that I can be a part of providing an additional, impactful educational choice for students in our community.

I am currently a teacher at IDEA College Preparatory North Mission, where I am completing the network’s newly developed Founding Teacher Fellowship. This one-year fellowship afforded me the opportunity to teach in one of IDEA’s award-winning Rio Grande Valley campuses. I definitely believe that I’ve grown in so many ways since starting the fellowship. In my role, I’m able to learn the importance of culture, pedagogy, structure and systems, data, and fostering positive and meaningful relationships with students and their families all to enhance the classroom.

I am committed to IDEA because of the values and passion we have for providing students with a high-quality education that will prepare them for success in school and in life. IDEA’s commitment to serve and develop each student, regardless of circumstance, is important to me. IDEA offers an established network with a proven history of transforming lives. From its strong focus on curriculum and professional development to its involvement with family and community, IDEA embodies its core values.

When parents choose IDEA, they are choosing an education that focuses on the development of the whole child, including academics, character, health and fitness. As a nutrition major, I truly value IDEA’s community gardens, and commitment to providing healthy meals to students through the Healthy Kids Here initiative. And as an educator, I appreciate the variety and substance of the professional development opportunities IDEA provides to ensure they are cultivating hard-working, talented teachers. These development opportunities enable me to collaborate and share best practices amongst my grade team, content area, and school. IDEA truly values and develops all students and teachers.

I know the impact that early exposure to college and career can have on a student’s future. IDEA provides these opportunities and opens students’ eyes to a world of possibilities. I tell parents that IDEA strives to get students, not only to college, but also through college and adulthood. The conversation doesn’t stop on graduation day. We prepare students for the rigor of college through Advanced Placement and college preparation courses, and we provide support to alumni throughout college.

I have witnessed the commitment IDEA has made to develop all students for success in college and in life, and I’m looking forward to sharing those benefits with children in Baton Rouge. Each child, no matter their background, should have the ability to explore their options, find their passions, and pursue their dreams.

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