Students may be the direct beneficiaries of Racine’s new school choice initiative, but it’s called a “parental” choice program for a reason.
High school sophomore Danae Sanchez discovered why during the waning days of her 2011 summer vacation.
At the time, Sanchez was looking forward to her freshman year at the local public high school with her friends.
Her parents had other ideas, however.
They had applied for a school voucher from the Racine Parental Choice Program, which Gov. Scott Walker had signed into law earlier that summer.
Just as the new school year was beginning, Sanchez learned she was accepted into the choice program and would be transferring to Shoreland Lutheran High School, a private Christian school located in Somers.
It was the fulfillment of a long-held goal – for Sanchez’s parents, that is.
For many years, they had wanted to send their daughter to a private school, but it was financially out of reach, says Martha Torres, Sanchez’s mother.
“There were a lot of problems at the other (public) school – fighting, low academics,” Torres says.
Sanchez wasn’t thrilled at the idea of leaving all her friends behind and beginning high school as the new kid in class, but her parents weren’t open to debating the matter.
“My parents want me to succeed in life,” Sanchez says. “They told me, ‘This school is going to benefit you later on. You may not think it now, but you’ll appreciate it later.’”