National Center for Policy Analysis
“Private School Choice Benefits Bullied Student”
February 12, 2015
By Megan SimonsWe’ve highlighted the benefits of school choice before ? increasing school choice can boost academic achievement, teacher pay, and transparency. According to a new video by The James Madison Institute, opening up school choice may have another benefit: reducing bullying.The new video tells the story of Valentin Mendez, a Florida student who was trapped in public schools where he was bullied for his Hispanic heritage and struggled to keep up academically. Thanks to Florida’s Step Up scholarship, Valentin was able to afford to transfer to La Progresiva Presbyterian School, a small private school in the area. At a conference sponsored by the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options Valentin said that when he was in public school,I was angry; I was frustrated; I cried almost every day. After everything I went through, I came to La Progresiva and it was a miracle. Without Step Up, I wouldn’t be here. Here, I really feel like I have a future. I have a future, because I’m learning.According to the Stop Bullying movement, kids who are bullied are more likely to experience:

Depression and anxiety
Health complaints
Lower test scores
Decreased school participation

Additionally, kids who are bullied are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school. Valentin himself had dropped out before getting in to La Progresiva.No child deserves to be trapped in a school where they feel emotionally or physically threatened. By opening up school choice, we can eliminate these issues. We can get kids into schools where they learn in effective, safe environments.Just like with Valentin, sometimes jumping from public school to public school isn’t enough. That’s why we need to reevaluate both the availability of private school options ? as well as their accessibility. Without Step Up, Valentin would have remained trapped in his situation. Increasing options such as scholarships, voucher programs, and Education Savings Accounts to parents in all states could help save bright children like Valentin.Article: http://educationblog.ncpa.org/private-school-choice-benefits-bullied-student/