We very much appreciate the Baltimore Jewish Times’ interest in the story of parents making the choice to send Orthodox children to nonconventional schools, such as to public school (“School Choice,” Aug. 16). However, we wish to clarify our position [and the community’s reaction]: The comments we received from those who felt strongly that we were making an egregious error in judgment, although we did not agree with their point of view, were definitely made out of concern for the well-being of our child and not to make us feel ostracized. In addition to the anecdote that our child is thriving in his new academic environment, the message we want others to hear who may also be struggling with school choice for their child is that there is not a one-size-fits-all school solution for every child in any community. Literally, there is not a month that goes by that we have not received a call from curious parents who want to know about how we came to this school choice for our son, and to talk their situation through to see if it might be worthwhile for them to pursue the [same] option as well. It seems to us both from our own experiences and the numerous conversations we’ve had with countless other parents in our community that there is a great need — professionally as well as through communal leadership — to address how best to meet the wide variety of needs of our children and how best to advise parents in this pursuit, in order to build skills for furthering their child’s academic success. Children should not be kept in an environment that can’t meet their needs. There are many viable options and many paths from which one can choose. Our story can illustrate that — for some children — there is no need to be wary of exploring what might be considered an unconventional option if it can present a great opportunity for that child (i.e., specialized program, counseling, support staff, etc.). Rather, a customized approach can enable a student to truly thrive.
Aleeza and Noah Oshry