Stuart Egan teaches high school in North Carolina. His son Malcolm was born with Down Syndrome. He is in third grade in public school and is thriving. Stuart helped Malcolm compose this letter to Secretary Betsy DeVos. Malcolm wonders if she cares about kids like him.

The letter starts like this:

“Dear Secretary DeVos,

“My name is Malcolm and I just finished third-grade in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School system. I have vibrant red-hair and blue eyes like my mom, wear cool glasses, have a wicked follow through on my jump shot, and am quite the dancer. My dad also wears glasses, but he does not dance very well nor has much hair. My sister is in high school. She is very smart and she helps me with my homework.

“I also have an extra chromosome because of a condition called Trisomy 21. You may know it as Down Syndrome. It does not define me. It just is, but I do need a little extra help in school and in learning other skills on how to be independent.

“I am having my daddy write this letter for me. He is a teacher in a public high school. In fact, I spend a lot of time at his school going to games and functions. A lot of people know me there like they do at my own school. My having an extra chromosome doesn’t seem to scare them so much because in the end we are all more alike than different anyway.

“But I am worried about some of the things that have happened in public schools since I have started going. I am also worried about how students like me are being treated since you and President Trump have been in office.

“My daddy has noticed you like this thing called “school choice” and that the budget that you and Mr. Trump like puts more money into this. Yet it really seems to have done a lot to weaken public schools like not fully give money to them or give them resources so that all kids in public schools can be successful. It seems that some money went to this thing called “vouchers” and some has been used to help make other types of schools – schools that will not accept me.

“When I got ready to go to school a few years ago, one of my grandparents offered to pay tuition at any school that could help me the most, but none around here would take me because I have a certain type of developmental delay. Doesn’t seem like I had much choice.

“But the public schools welcomed me with open arms. And I am learning because of the good teachers and the teacher assistants. Imagine what could happen if my school could have every resource to accommodate my needs…”

I hope she reads it.