MANSFIELD – Tera Myers, a Mansfield mother and school choice advocate, spoke for nearly three minutes during the third night of the Republican National Convention, preceding appearances by Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, second lady Karen Pence and Vice President Mike Pence.
In her speech, Myers thanked President Trump, whom she and her son, Samuel, met in December, for his work in “making every student’s dream of a meaningful education a reality.”
Samuel, who attended Mansfield Christian School with the help of a special needs scholarship that his mother lobbied for state lawmakers to pass, has Down syndrome.
“President Trump shook my hand and said ‘Wonderful job Mom, your son is amazing,'” Myers said. “Unlike the doctor who told me to end Samuel’s life before it even began, President Trump did not dismiss my son.He showed Samuel he valued him and was proud of what he accomplished.”
Last year, the Trump administration introduced the Education Freedom Scholarship program, a federal tax credit that would fund scholarships to private schools and other educational programs.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who joined Trump and Myers at the roundtable in December, has championed the the proposal ever since taking office, according to USA TODAY.
“For decades, countless children have been trapped in failing government schools,” Trump said at the time. “In my administration, these children are forgotten no longer. Just like I said I was going to do it for different groups of people, and we did it.”
In 2011, Myers fought for passage of the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship, unhappy with how unnamed Mansfield-area schools treated Samuel and had addressed his learning needs, and started a program for students with special needs at Mansfield Christian School.
“When we went to register Samuel for kindergarten we were told to just ‘put him where he would be comfortable, don’t stress him out by trying to teach him,'” Myers said. “When we pushed for him to attend his neighborhood school with his sisters, we were told to ‘just go home and let us do what we do.”’
“When I inquired about functional learning I was told, “This is all you get, like it or not,'” she added. “I did not like it. One size did not fit all.”
Myers also shared what Samuel told President Trump during that roundtable meeting in December.
“He said ‘School choice helped my dreams come true. My school taught me the way I learn best and I was able to fit in. I made many friends and became a part of my community. My teachers helped me become the best I can be.'”
Myers, who was appointed in April by the Richland County Board of Commissioners to the board of Richland Newhope/Richland County Board of Developmental Disabilities, said she is thankful that President Trump “values the life of the unborn.”
“And for fighting to ensure every child in America has an equal seat at the table of education freedom, and an equal opportunity in life,” she said.
Myers is a member of Mansfield Alliance Church and is a “Mentor Mom” at Berean Baptist Church MOPS Program, or Mothers of Preschoolers. She serves as a state and national parent advocate for Education Freedom, the Trump administration’s proposed scholarship program, and is a consultant for Washington D.C.-based American Federation for Children.
According to a transcript of her remarks during the school choice roundtable, Myers took an opportunity to criticize teachers unions.
“Teachers are being held hostage, in my opinion, in the public system, by not being able to give the opportunities that they could give with the resources that are available simply because unions are grasping and holding on tight to those funds,” she continued. “And that was one of my main platforms when I was trying to get things passed for children like Sam, saying we should be allowed to make those choices — we, the parents. We know the children better than anyone else. And given that opportunity and those resources, we’ve been able to make a better education.”
Shortly after her visit to the White House, Myers penned an opinion piece that appeared in the Washington Examiner, in which she described how she fought for her son.
Here are Myers’ Wednesday remarks in full:
Good Evening, my name is Tera Myers. Tonight I am here as a wife and mother to share how education freedom has personally impacted my family, especially the life of my son Samuel.
Before Samuel was even born I was told his life wouldn’t be worth living.
When early tests revealed he had Down Syndrome, our doctor encouraged me to terminate the pregnancy. He said “If you do not, you will be burdening your life, family and your community.”
I knew my baby was a human being created by God and that made him worthy of life. I am thankful that President Trump values the life of the unborn.
When we went to register Samuel for kindergarten we were told to just “put him where he would be comfortable, don’t stress him out by trying to teach him.”
When we pushed for him to attend his neighborhood school with his sisters, we were told to “just go home and let us do what we do.”
When I inquired about functional learning I was told, “This is all you get, like it or not.”
I did not like it. One size did not fit all.
So I helped fight to pass legislation in Ohio for a special needs scholarship, so that all students could choose the right program for their needs.
I worked to start a new functional learning program at our local private school.
Finally, Samuel had an appropriate place to learn.
Recently Samuel was invited to the White House to meet with our president and share his thoughts on education freedom. He said “School choice helped my dreams come true. My school taught me the way I learn best and I was able to fit in. I made many friends and became a part of my community. My teachers helped me become the best I can be.”
President Trump shook my hand and said “Wonderful job Mom, your son is amazing.” Unlike the doctor who told me to end Samuel’s life before it even began, President Trump did not dismiss my son, he showed Samuel he valued him and was proud of what he accomplished.
President Trump gave Samuel an equal seat at the table.
Tonight, I would like to extend my thanks to President Trump and his administration for their work towards making every student’s dream of a meaningful education a reality.
And for fighting to ensure every child in America has an equal seat at the table of Education Freedom, and an equal opportunity in life.
Thank you and may God Bless America!