Education: Not my Top Priority 

My daughter is only 2 and a half, but already I feel like I am having to plan her entire educational future. 

Public school?

Private school?

Rigorous STEM program?

Arts-focused program?

It’s a lot. In fact, it’s too much.

Why are we solely focused on academia?

I grew up with a learning disability. I did fine in school, but I really had to work hard to make good grades. I learned study habits that worked well for my style of learning. I took electives that leaned toward my strengths. When I went to college, I felt like I had a good foundation in my primary education to take on college. 

However, I don’t think academic rigor is what set me up for success.

My grandmother raised me and my three sisters. She was a teacher, so obviously education was a priority in our home, but it was not number one. 

My grandmother taught us how to respect those around us.

She taught us the importance of listening to others and opened our eyes to those who might not live the same way we do.

She prioritized charitable giving.

She allowed us to try new sports or extracurriculars. 

When we weren’t in season for those extra things, she required us to maintain a part time job. 

We held ourselves accountable through weekly chores and other responsibilities. 

These are the values I want my children to focus on. 

When school is over

When I look around at the most successful people in business, no one asks if they were at the top of their class, usually. Hiring managers are not asking if you were in the public or private school system.

Employers prioritize hard work, time management, respect, critical thinking, integrity. 

So, while it may not be the popular opinion, education is not my top priority for my children. 

When I think of where I want my kids to go to school, I want them to be in an environment that will teach them values that align with ours. That might be public school. That might be private school. That might be homeschool (but let’s hope not, because I don’t think I have a teacher’s bone in my body). 

Regardless of where my kids go to school, I want them to know that their grades and knowledge are not what define them. It’s their character. And whatever school brings out their best character, that is where I want them to be.

Jessica Hauerwas
Jessica is a nonprofit leader who loves bopping around Lafayette for the best burgers or bands in town. She is the Executive Director of Downtown Lafayette Unlimited where she runs the day-to-day nonprofit. She and her husband Chris have three littles at home (Jane, Clark, and Louise) where there is lots of giggling and always a cup of coffee brewing. Jessica is passionate about community-building and empowering working mothers. Jessica also volunteers for various organizations, is a member of the Lafayette Re-Entry Coalition, a graduate of Leadership Lafayette, and a survivor of being a mother of three under 4.


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