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How My Mother Beat the Public School System

Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Senior Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy
January 26, 2012
TheAtlantic.com

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My mother was ahead of her time.

Years before school choice become the hot-throttled issue it is now, back in the days of Dallas, Falcon Crest, and ketchup as a school lunch vegetable, my mother created her own school choice program for me, her one and only child. Employing a bit of creative address-keeping, she opted us out of the elementary school the Prince George's County Public School District said I should attend in favor of Magnolia Elementary, a school held in far higher regard by Prince George's County parents.

The decision to choose for herself which school was best for her daughter was not at all a political one for my mother, a committed Democrat who proudly belonged to the Communications Workers of America and sang "Look for the Union Label" around our house. (During the first Barbara Mikulski Senate campaign, my mother tasked me with holding posters at Democratic rallies, prompting me to think about organizing the other kids who'd been forced into political labor that afternoon.) It was a deeply personal choice about her child's future.

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