School Choice

School Choice Helped a Homeless Teen Grow Up To Run a Nonprofit. Now She Wants To Help Others.

"If you would have told me when I was 12 years old, I would run this organization, I would have said you were crazy."

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Government-run schools fail kids.

Teachers unions and education bureaucrats say, "We need more money!"

But America already spends a fortune on public schools.

My town, New York City, spends $28,000 per student—half-a-million dollars per classroom! Think about what you could do with that money: Hire five teachers? Pay for private tutors?

Where does the $28,000 go? No one really knows. When governments run things, money vanishes into bureaucracy. NYC spends $3 million per year on "executive superintendents" and $10 million on consultants.

Some charter schools offer better educations for less. But NYC politicians limit the number of charter schools. As a result, 48,000 kids wait on waitlists.

Fortunately, some charities have stepped in to help.

My video this week features Student Sponsor Partners, or SSP, a nonprofit that helps low-income students go to Catholic schools.

Jeniffer Gutierrez, a parent in the Bronx, was ecstatic to get SSP's acceptance letter. "I cried so hard when I received that letter because I knew it was an opportunity for my son….High schools in the Bronx are violent. There's no discipline. There's no education."

Her son Tyler didn't feel safe in public school. "One of my best friends was shot and killed right next to me," he recalls.

Many Catholic schools, even though they spend much less per student than government-run schools, do better. SSP sent Tyler to Cardinal Hayes High School, where, says Gutierrez, teachers helped her son "excel in life."

Tyler now attends St. John's University on scholarship. He and thousands of other SSP students are on a path to success.

That's why I support SSP. I'm not Catholic, but I've paid Catholic school tuition for dozens of kids and personally mentored five.

That mentoring makes SSP different. SSP assigns an adult to every student. Often these relationships continue after students graduate.

Jorge Aguilar says his mentor "planted seeds in my brain that I could do big things in life." Aguilar then became the first person in his family to go to college. Now he's a doctor.

"SSP helped me break the chain of poverty," he says.

Eighty-five percent of SSP kids graduate high school, twice as many as their public school peers. Most are accepted by colleges.

All this happened because decades ago, philanthropist Peter Flanigan wanted to give parents an alternative to government schools. He hoped that would help at-risk teenagers escape poverty.

He started SSP. One of the first kids he helped was Debra Vizzi.

"I had been homeless," she tells me. "I left an abusive foster home and was sort of hopping around from shelter to shelter."

She met Flanigan at a soup kitchen. He told her he'd pay for her to attend Cathedral High School.

"I was suspicious, especially as a kid on the street, but he was legit," Vizzi laughs. "He paid $350 for me to go to one of the best high schools in New York City."

Flannigan's mentorship gave Vizzi more than a better education. "He helped me trust men, believe in people, helped me have a future. Even helped me become a mother later…something that I hadn't had."

Vizzi is now executive director of SSP.

"If you would have told me when I was 12 years old, I would run this organization, I would have said you were crazy."

This year, SSP has a thousand students attending different private high schools.

Want to help? SSP seeks more people who will mentor a student and more donors who'll help pay for it. You can get more information at sspnyc.org.

Maybe you'll join us and help more kids escape bad government-run schools.

COPYRIGHT 2021 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.

NEXT: The Wonder Years Is a Remake Actually Worth Your Attention

School Choice Charter Schools New York City Bureaucracy Charity/Philanthropy

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19 responses to “School Choice Helped a Homeless Teen Grow Up To Run a Nonprofit. Now She Wants To Help Others.

  1. Your kids. You educate them or pay the full cost to have someone else do so.

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  2. The purpose of the public school system is to benefit the bureaucrats. It is doing a fine job.

    1. Many suburban public schools do a decent job. (At least they did until Covid brought out the worst in teachers’ unions.)

      1. Yet by today’s “normal” standards; ‘a decent job’ teaching cannot even build a house, change a tire, change oil, change a fuse, do the taxes, hook-up a PC, etc, etc, etc, etc……………

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  3. How to adhere to Conformity and Oppression seems to be the #1 lesson of public education. Most of us will obtain more knowledge from googling for a day than 12-years of public education.

    People learn because they want to; not because of public education. Free-markets could supply the best learning of what they want to learn instead of dictating them into the standardized mold.

  4. FACT: The solution is simple: FUND THE STUDENT, NOT THE INSTITUTIONS.

    1. Students get to use Gov-Gun theft on their neighbors for their themselves? Naw; A LITTLE bit of self-responsibility would be good not only for them but their parents also.

      And anyone has to ask how our society looks and sounds like a bunch of spoiled 2-year olds.

  5. The public school system and teacher’s unions are a supermassive black hole. Money falls in and no one has any clue what happens to it, potential star kids are sucked in and snuffed out, and time ceases to exist resulting in a permanent freeze where nothing is accomplished other than the continual pumping of money off to special interests. School choice, and programs like this one, are the only way to combat this decrepit system, and lo and behold, the people who are supposed to stand up for progress and education and a better future, the leftist progressives, are the very people who try to block school choice at every turn. It’s horrendous.

  6. “Government-run schools fail kids.”

    Except I could find anecdotal bullshit stories like this to justify them too. Where they helped someone succeed. Just the same as where I could find evidence that “school choice” robbed kids in govt run ones of other kids to lift them up.

    Fuck off with this propaganda.

    1. Except I could find anecdotal bullshit stories like this to justify the *stealing* too. Where *stealing* helped someone succeed.

      Any amount of Armed Theft is ALWAYS justified if it helps but 1-person! /s

      Ya; We already know where the leftard’s ethical codes sit. It not like they keep it a secret by anything short of projection and deception.

    2. Well since you haven’t found one, you’ve undercut your own premise.

      … but I’m guessing your public school education hasn’t properly prepared you for life, based on the labeling of independent opinions that point out government failures as “propaganda”.

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  9. School choice carries the same key benefit as ANY other sector with consumer choice – a competitive market place.

    Failing schools SHOULD disappear just as failing businesses should.

    Money and profits are signals that you are doing it right.

Comments are closed.