The New Year does not just mean a new calendar year, but it is also means a new school semester. While many schools are preparing for the second semester many parents are debating whether or not they should send their child back to the school that failed them first semester and more than likely failed them year after year. I may not be a parent, yet, that does not mean I cannot fight for the equity and justice for children’s educational rights. As we are approaching the celebration of one of the greatest champions for equal rights Martin Luther King, I am reminded by one of his quotes, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
It makes me angry when schools attempt to change their results by tinkering at the edges of their model. They will adjust their schedule, extend the day, and add many alternative programs to the school. Those are nice approaches and some may very well work, but if you have teachers in the building that do not believe that all children can learn, then you have not addressed the issue.
I refuse to sit around and allow families of color and poor families to send their children to schools across the country let alone in my city that do not treat them as king and queens they are. In my short 29 years on this earth and my even shorten time as an educator I have seen far too many of our young kings and queens who have been failed by these schools. My desire to see our kings and queen thrive in school is why I will fight against any entity that will deny families the basic constitutional right to choose the best educational option.
What really gets me is that many entities try to make parents of color and poor families feel bad for wanting to send their child to a better school. They spread lies about how alternative schools such as charters only care about the money. They tell parents to trust their neighborhood school, which all too often has been failing kids for years. In reality the schools they make the parents feel bad about leaving cannot meet the needs of many low income or children of colors need both educationally and emotionally.
An effective charter school is realistic option for families of color and low-income families. Perhaps that’s why black and brown parents overwhelmingly support charter schools as an option for their children. If a charter school can educate a child and give them the supports they need to excel academically, while hopefully beginning to reverse the impacts of generational poverty, I cannot allow entities to stand in the way of parents making that choice. I refuse.
David McGuire is a school leader in Indianapolis. He wrote this post for the blog Indy Education.