One Parent’s Perspective on the Republican Tax Overhaul: The Luxury of Choice

There was never any question that we would send our daughter to public school. We were living in a small, diverse urban school district, and we hoped that our daughter would get accepted into one of the magnet schools of our choice. She didn’t. We had a choice. So, we enrolled her in a private Montessori school with the intent of moving back into the public school system the following year once the lottery re-opened. We never had the chance.

Once our daughter was diagnosed with a learning disability, she was ineligible for the lottery. Matter of fact, we were told that two elementary schools offered reading services, and she would be enrolled in whichever one had an opening. We decided that staying in the private Montessori school was the best decision. It wasn’t easy, but we had that choice.

After several years, our daughter was not making adequate progress in the public school system. A private school for language differences was recommended. I wondered if we could use our 529 college savings plan to pay. We couldn’t. The funds were only eligible for higher education. If we didn’t do something now, higher education was moot.

For families like ours, using our 529 education savings to pay for a specialized school is a solution. It is an imperfect solution as it leaves out the many people who are unable to put aside money in a 529 to save for their kid’s college education. For the general population, there is concern that it creates a broader class gap in education, and this is valid. So, it is with mixed emotions that I embrace this piece of the Republican tax overhaul. I see it as a short-term solution for families like ours who have documented proof that the public school is not working for them, and private, specialized schools are necessities. For everyone else, I’m not sure. #Dyslexia


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  1. Susan Simpfenderfer December 4, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Well said! I think “specialized” being the key word. Public schools assure that there is quality education for all but not adequate learning strategies for all—the budgets don’t exist to make that a sure thing.



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  2. jerseybackyard December 5, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    You’ve come to a courageous conclusion. This is a great example of how complicated public policy can be when viewed through the eyes of individual citizens and taxpayers. Best wishes for success as you pursue the best resources for your family.

    1. marion December 5, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Thank you for the feedback. School choice is a very complicated issue when you look under the surface as a taxpayer or individual citizen. Those of us in the learning difference world are searching for alternatives when the public schools are not an option. The previous comment about using the term specialized schools might have made the perspective clearer. I really appreciate the comment!

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