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How I Feel About Public Schools

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I promised you that you’d get transparency from me, no matter what. Whether I’m the trustee you’re voting for or not.

I’ve been very open that we homeschooled for the 2020-2021 school year and part of the 2021-2022 school year, and recently someone asked me, “How can you say you’re for public schools when your children haven’t attended them in the last two years?”

Timberwood Park Elementary's front door and entryway, behind the driveway.

That’s a fair question. Pulling my kids out of public school is not something I ever imagined myself doing, and it was days and weeks of contemplation and risk assessment both times that my husband and I chose to do it.

I own that — we chose to remove our children from public school. My husband and I had to make a conscious decision with guidance from our child’s extensive medical team (but most importantly cardiologist) to keep both boys home until a pediatric vaccine was available.

I’m a product of public schools, so is my husband. While from two different countries, our lives would have been vastly different, with far fewer opportunities, if public school did not exist.

I firmly believe that every advanced society existed because public education was a vital part of the society, from Rome to Athens, to England and the early days of our Republic.

A form of public school can be traced all the way back to the 16th century BC in China. Oxford and Cambridge, two of the most famous and oldest universities in the world, are both public schools.

Our family was built on public schools. And then we pulled our kids out of public school. If you’d asked me 10 years ago if I ever saw myself making a decision like that, I would have laughed and said, “not gonna happen.”

Everyone has a right to educate their children the best way for their families. For some families, that’s private education. For others, it was virtual school before the pandemic was even a thing.

Plenty of folks home school, and I have never found anything lacking about any of those options. But when it came down to it, James and I wanted our boys to go to public school like we did, and I can tell you for free neither one of us thought we’d have to make a different choice.

Because of our son’s heart condition and resulting immunocompromise, we really only had two options if we were going to follow the advice of the team of medical professionals that have cared for him literally since the day he was born regarding the pandemic; virtual school and home school.

It became a numbers game. Could we juggle virtual school schedule through Timberwood Park Elementary while working from home? We both worked from home long before the pandemic and we were well-versed in how many hours a day we had to give to juggling.

We did virtual learning at the end of our older son’s Kindergarten year and were familiar with the time commitment. We had a very intimate experience with what it was like to try and tackle online learning, what works and what doesn’t for our family.

Homeschool became our option of choice because we could teach both boys at the same time, in a shorter time block each day. We could be flexible in when school hours began and ended. We could teach on the weekend. All the things that were necessary for our family to continue to juggle the things we simply had to.

We were very lucky to be able to make that choice for our son’s health, I’m very aware not everyone gets to do that. It was a hard two years, but I’m still grateful that we were able to make the choice that we felt best protected the health of this little kid that we have worked so hard to keep alive since his first few hours of life.

I believe I can utilize this experience to help teachers and students with both remote and in-person learning, because as we learned, some students thrived with online instruction.

When those medical professionals gave the all clear for our kid(s) to return to the world? Right back into public school they went, and we are all happier for it.

Because we love Comal ISD. We didn’t walk away willingly or without a deep sense of loss. We had to make an impossible choice, the repercussions of which are still with us today, as they are with many families.

My love for what public schools represent — that American dream where everyone gets a shot because they have the same solid foundation. That is why I’m here. That is why I want to work hard to make Comal ISD the best it can be as a trustee, to build on that solid foundation.

I have 13 more years as a parent of a student at Comal ISD, and I will be super involved, in every capacity I can be, because service to your community as a vital part of your life is how I was raised.

Whether I’m a trustee or not, I will continue to work hard for the teachers, fellow parents, students and staff. To be an advocate when it is needed, a cheerleader always, and a shoulder to lean on too.

If there’s one thing about our family’s story I hope you can take away, it’s this: I can take an unexpected, difficult situation and adapt to change. As a mother, my first and foremost obligation is to the protection of my children. As a trustee, my first and foremost obligation is to the betterment of every child in Comal ISD.