Editor’s Note: This article was written exclusively for Redefined by Najimah Roberson, mother of three and Executive Director of Harrisburg Families United.
National nonprofit EdChoice, arguably one of the most committed advocacy groups working to empower families to choose the school environment that best meets their children’s needs, defines the Choice of school as follows:
School choice allows public education funds to follow students to the schools or services that best meet their needs – whether in a public school, a private school, a charter school, a school. at home or any other learning environment chosen by families.
Sounds pretty straightforward, right? But over the years, as I have championed the choice of education myself, both as a parent and as an organizer, I have learned that people sometimes create alternative definitions based on their goals – and their political agendas.
Some lawmakers, for example, define education choice as a threat to public schools. They refer to state scholarship programs as “eligibility” programs.
What burns my soul is that even though they put up barriers to choice, they are exercising their ability to choose the school they want simply because of their economic ability to do so. It doesn’t matter to them that the laws they enact deny people like me, a woman with three children on a limited income, these same privileges.
You don’t have to be a genius to see that most failing public schools are in neighborhoods with low income people. Which group of people most often fall into this economic bracket? Minorities. People like me. Which reminds me of something that one of my university professors used to say, âWe Americans need people in poverty.
It made my blood boil when she said that, and I was only more upset when she went on to say that if we didn’t have a low income class there would be no one. to flip burgers or be a janitor.
Before she got that sentence out of her mouth, I jumped up with a tearful face. Being the only black person in the class, I might have taken him harder than my peers. But I just couldn’t contain myself.
I shouted back, “We don’t need people in poverty, we need people to start caring for them again – caring for each other and where we are. let’s live.
All these years later, I still believe it with all my heart.
It is our responsibility to take care of all children, regardless of their economic means. We cannot just sit back and allow our children to be pushed into poorly performing schools, without being prepared for the rest of their lives when they leave 12e to note. It is our responsibility to fight for the right of every parent to determine the best school for their child.
If you can’t get to your residence, write a letter. If you can’t write a letter, send an email. But raise your voice and be heard. Do it with force. Do it with fervor. Do it frequently.
Our children are counting on you.