At the CER’s 20th Anniversary Gala and Awards Show, we heard a lot of sentences like this: “20 years ago to the day…” and “It was exactly one year ago when…”. It got me thinking about what I was doing this exact time at one important time in my life, and how it compares to what I am doing now.
It was three years ago that I arrived to the George Washington University in DC to study – exactly what I was going to study was still unknown to me. It was a new beginning with many different possible paths to go down. On a whim, I decided to get a work-study job tutoring elementary school children.
It was in October of 2010, my freshman year, at a nonprofit that provided tutoring services to minority elementary students in reading and math in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of DC. I saw how the traditional schools they attended were failing them, and quickly realized the importance of choice, accountability, and great results for our kids. Three years ago this month, I saw Waiting for Superman for the first time. Any person who has watched that documentary knows that after a half hour of watching, you just can’t take it anymore. And you know you have to do something.
The next year I was given the chance to become a supervisor of a group of afterschool tutors at a charter school, also in Columbia Heights, and was amazed at the work they were doing and the results they were achieving. I began to realize that policy, and not “dirty Washington politics”, made possible the amazing work that charters were doing in my new DC home. I wanted to do more to expand choice and charters and bring common sense to education and I felt myself