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Governor Strickland,

With your proposal of Sub. H.B. 1, you have lost my vote.  I was waiting to see if you were listening to your fellow citizens, but you held that rally Friday and I realized that you are deaf to what we want, what we need.

Parents of children in charter schools throughout Ohio are uniting and we are coming to the same conclusion and the same decision.

So, 88,000 plus students:  each has grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and some even have siblings and friends of voting age, not to mention friends of their family. Many of the children affected will be voting by the time you run for office again.  Think about it.

What you have proposed is, in my opinion, and in the opinion of these hundreds of thousands of voters who support charter schools, a miscarriage of power.

Charter Schools were set up to offer an alternative to the public school system – which many parents, like me, see as FAILING our children. Some of these children will not be accepted into any private school, so home schooling is the only option left – and isolation.  The majority of the students affected by Sub. H.B.1 come from low-economic families. They cannot home school, as they need to work full-time to support their families.

My son has nowhere else to go.  In public school and the private school we later sent him to, he was bullied, sometimes by some ignorant teacher.  No one would work with him and help him overcome his learning differences.  He was stuck in a corner, given no help and would cry when he had to go to school to face the bullies – to be made to feel inadequate by the teacher.   Thankfully, Chris’ neuropsychologist suggested, “Send him to The Graham School.  He’ll blossom there.”  He was right.  My son is happy, loves school and is learning.  Not only is he learning, he is achieving his dreams.  He is getting good grades, he is part of a school-sponsored guitar club, is a member of a band, and he has become a twice traditionally published author.  He currently works with Meals on Wheels, has helped to build a community garden and is looking forward to attending a culinary institute.

You want to take this away from him.  I want to know why!  I want to know why you think it is appropriate to penalize children, our future leaders, by taking away the schools where they are finally thriving.  I want to know why the special needs kids are the ones to be targeted, for many of these students are special needs. I want to know what alternatives you have planned.  Are you going to help me find a school that will, not only accept my son, but respect him as Graham does?  I want to know how you are going to help my son succeed as he enters his adult years without an education, because you took it away.  I want to know if you will find my son a job where he can make a living wage, marry, and raise and provide for a family.  And I want to know how in Heaven’s name you could even begin to think that this is appropriate.

My son is a citizen.  By the time you are ready to run for office again, he and his friends and thousands of these kids will be voters.  He is just as valuable and important as you are, and he, just by himself, is worth every dime that you are trying to cut.  What are YOU going to do for my son when his last option for a high school education is taken away?

What are you going to do for the family who has more than one child in charter schools?  Special needs children who, like my son, have no options.  Are you going to allow them to be swallowed up and forgotten?  You are supposed to be our leader, not our enemy.

I have seen many of my friends cut their household budgets, but I guarantee you, they did not take from their children!  They have cut out necessities.  I know of one couple that sold their house to provide an education for their children, one father took a third job; none of them have taken from our future citizens.  We work, we plan, and we sweat for our kids, only to be stymied by our governor, a man that we are supposed to be able to trust and look to for leadership.

One of the many things I have learned in life, is that when you propose a change, you outline options for problems that will arise from that change.  You have done nothing.

Let’s say that these 88,000 plus children lose their schools.  Where are they supposed to go?  Back into the public school system?  That would be a very interesting phenomenon to witness.  I can picture a veritable “flood” of humanity into schools that already claim that they cannot service the children they already have: schools that have failed the very children, which would now be bereft of schools where they were successful.  What are you going to do about this?  Yet another hole in your proposal.

Like most parents, I don’t want anyone to hurt my child.  What you are doing will hurt him.  Shame on you.

To the reader:  if you live in Ohio, please write to your senator and demand that Sub H.B. 1 be defeated in the senate.

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