INDIANAPOLIS EXAMINER: Making the Right Choice

I took a little break Friday to attend a bi-monthly luncheon sponsored by the GEO Foundation For School Choice. It was a very informal event, but while there I got the chance to reconnect with one of my former students.

As some of you know I teach part-time for Ivy Tech Community College. As part of my teaching assignments I teach at a couple high schools who participate in an early dual credit program. Students can take certain courses and get credit for both high school and college. And if they do it right, many of them can finish their first two years of college by the time they complete high school and doesn’t cost them a dime.

I bring this up because my former student, “Jerry”, is someone to really be proud of. He’s a junior with 12 college credits under his belt, but he’s only 14-years old. He doesn’t come from a wealthy background. His parents are your classic middle/working class African-American family, who have instilled the importance of education in their son.

In addition, Jerry has great teachers (me included of course), he’s got a support system in place at the school because there is strong leadership in the building and at the central administrative audience. All that leads to Jerry having great drive and ambition. Although he did give me grief about how hard my tests were on occasion.

Jerry’s ultimate goal is to go to Purdue University and get his degree in engineering. I told him I’d wish him luck, but he won’t need it if he stays on the path that’s he’s on. And honestly, I don’t think that would have been possible had his parents not exercised their choice to pick a school that worked well for their son and not leave him in a place where he would have eventually become a statistic.

With a little bit of luck, a lot of families will have the same opportunities to exercise more choice after the upcoming legislative session.

By Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, Indianapolis Examiner


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