Jenny’s Mixtape: Do You Love Me?

“You broke my heart
Cause I couldn’t dance
You didn’t even want me around
And now I’m back
To let you know
I can really shake ‘em down

Do you love me? (I can really move)
Do you love me? (I’m in the groove)
Do you love me? (Do you love me?)
Now that I can dance (Dance)”
The Contours

I apologize in advance – because you might have this song in your head the rest of the week! “Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance)?” was released by The Contours and topped the charts in 1962 and again in 1988 with the release of the movie “Dirty Dancing.” You might be surprised to learn where my kids first heard the song: it was in a video from 2020 with dancing robots from Boston Dynamics that now has a whopping 39 MILLION views on YouTube!

I really can’t say how many times we watched the video or danced to the song, but it was a lot! Just today, my son and I listened to it again in the drive thru for In-and-Out. We still always think of the “robot video” as we call it, every time we hear the song. My kids were inspired and enthralled with the robots, and even more, the company behind the viral video. “I wonder what kind of jobs they have there?” “I wonder who decided what the robots would look like?” “Who do you think picked the song and programmed the dance moves!?”

So what in the WORLD does this have to do with ESAs?

Hold on, I’m getting there.

Last week, an article came out where I was interviewed related to allowable ESA (Education Savings Account) expenses in the state of Florida. The article included reflections on other states, like Arizona, which allow approved education expenses outside of private school tuition with their ESAs. The article, “Florida School Vouchers Can Pay for TVs, Kayaks, and Theme Parks. Is That Okay?” by Jeffrey Solocheck, is a great look at the challenges that some states appear to be having related to “allowable” ESA expenses. That is, what should students be allowed to purchase with their scholarships, and how is that determined? I’ll give you a hint about what I think based on one of my quotes in the article:

“We’ve got to do the most innovative things,” Clark said. “And the most innovative things make people uncomfortable.”

I also share a bit about why I think flexibility when it comes to approved ESA expenses is important, and remind everyone that according to some experts, an estimated 65% of the jobs our children will have don’t even exist yet!

If We’re Worried about Approved ESA Expenses, We’re Focused on the Wrong Thing

States with ESAs, like Arizona, have frameworks in place around approved expenses for ESA purchases, which are usually a mixture of state law, rules, and implementing agency regulations and guidelines. For example, in Arizona items that are “supplemental” to a curriculum, like say a microscope or a blender, have to be required or recommended by the curriculum.

This means that if your ESA student is taking a class on kayaking, you can purchase a kayak. A baking class for home – a mixer, a 3D printing class – a 3D printer, and so forth. For some reason, this makes some people nervous, but why?

Well, because governments like to regulate and they like control. The more, the better. They like purchasing manuals and procurement guides that are 50 pages long, which no parent can manage to get through. They like hyper-regulating and vetting everything through a decision matrix, with a board of advisors, and somehow they think that every single penny of ESAs has to be perfectly proven and spent in a way they determine is “acceptable.” This kind of hyper-regulation will do nothing but stifle ESA growth and hold our students back from being ready for the jobs of the future.

Why Dancing Robots… (and Kayaks and TVs), are good things

Back to the dancing robots. One thing I know for sure, and I think most Americans would agree with this general sentiment, is that the status quo education model for K-12 is not working. We know the absolutely abysmal NAEP scores for reading and math across the country. We know where we stand globally in workforce readiness and the variety of issues our students face, and we know we need to make changes. Rapid changes, now. Government controlled, hyper-regulation is not going to inspire our kids to be the next engineer at Boston Dynamics. It’s not going to help our kids compete in the global marketplace, where for example, the Kayak Industry boasts a market size valued at $521 million. Worrying about whether or not a student is using a TV for entertainment – or as their computer monitor, is backward thinking.

Ditch the Status Quo

Let’s empower our kids to explore their interests and passions so they can be innovative. So they can create the coolest new kayak, build the best robots, provide the best services in their new industry, and launch the companies that will provide thousands of jobs for others and make our lives better. Our kids need ESAs and they need flexibility with their ESAs so they can compete as Americans in a global marketplace – and win.

The status quo is not working. Why in the world would we impose it on ESAs?


Watch the Contours “Do You Love Me” music video

Watch the Boston Dynamics Robot video

Click here to subscribe for more of Jenny’s MixTapes

- Jenny Clark

Founder & Executive Director

Arizona native and mother of five, Love Your School Founder Jenny Clark knows full well the unique variations in how children learn. Jenny grew up in Arizona, attended her local district school from K-12, and then continued on to the University of Arizona and received a BSBA in Business Economics.

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