COMMENTARY: How Nevada’s Opportunity Scholarship saved my son from falling through the cracks

I am a single father of three. I have a 24-year-old, a 14-year old and my 7-year-old, Garrett.

All children learn differently. Some work great in the public school system, but some are left behind. Public schools teach the majority of students, but when your children are in the upper or lower part of their class, they often fall through the cracks. My son, who was at the top of his class, was academically gifted. But emotionally he needed a little more attention.

The challenge we faced at Garrett’s public school was that he had trouble staying on track. He has ADHD, and when he would finish his classwork earlier than his peers, he would get fidgety. Just like many of us, children are not designed to sit still. The school would let him sit at his desk, rather than provide him with additional classwork or give him another assignment to work on. This may work great for some children, but not for Garrett.

The new school Garrett is attending is wonderful. His teacher can give him personalized attention and adjust his assignments as needed. For example, when she gives other students one or two sentences to write, she will give Garrett five or six sentences, since she knows his capabilities. She judges each child’s needs and abilities on an individual basis.

At his old school, Garrett’s class had 29 students. At his new school, there are only 10 students in his class. This provides his teacher more individual time with each student.

The Opportunity Scholarship has given me the chance to send Garrett to a school that will teach him as an individual. I am a single father of three, worked for the state for 27 years and am a retired police officer. Without this scholarship, I would not be able to afford to send Garrett to Far West Academy. This funding allows me to send him to a school that fits his academic needs.

I believe parents know their children best and know what type of education system will fit their needs.

Thanks to the $20 million increase in the Opportunity Scholarship last year, I was able to send Garrett to a school that best meets his needs.

If it weren’t for this scholarship, I would have had to make serious financial cuts to send my child to this school. With the Opportunity Scholarship, I can send my son to a great school and give him the education he deserves while simultaneously ensuring I have the resources to enhance his education.

Nevada lawmakers, please do not reduce the funding for the Opportunity Scholarship. It allows people such as me to send our children to schools that fit them and save them from slipping through the cracks.

Buddy Hampton writes from Las Vegas.

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