Sounds good in theory, but not in practice

In response to this post about AL moving towards charters: AEA spews lies in response to “School Choice” March, I received this comment:

“…By the way, the people who decided to send their kids to a private school chose to do that, oftentimes not because the school was “failing”, but because of too many black people. Their choice to abandon public for private is their choice, but they shouldn’t get a voucher for it. Afterall, they are the one’s who turned their back on the local community, rather than fighting for it. As someone in the Dekalb Democratic Party you ought to know that racism is usually a determining factor when kids are sent to private school. The same will happen with charters. The domino affect means fewer good kids in public schools and what’s left will continue to drag society down rather than good people finding a real solution. Really it’s laziness on their part and people like you who just run away from the problems, opening schools that “get away” from the less fortunate, and closing schools they “don’t like anymore”. Seriously, it’s downward spiral once kids start abandoning a school, but you know this. Frankly, it’s astounding your arguments here and that you consider yourself a democrat…”

©Depositphotos.com/Margaret Paynich

©Depositphotos.com/Margaret Paynich

1. I never mentioned race, you did. So I would have to say it is you who is the racist one against black people because your mind went there.

2. Parents send their children to private or charter schools for a variety of reasons – avoiding an underperforming school, religious or educational style preference, or personal experience just to name a few.  I believed that one major concern with “vouchers”  was that money could be sent to a religious school and that is a conflict of church and state. But it makes sense that the money should follow the child wherever the parents decide is best for them. Educational style differences such as The Met in Providence or even the Waldorf school or Sudbury School here in Atlanta are all reasons why parents may choose another school. Traditional Public schools do not generally offer these alternative, hands on, democratically arranged school curriculum so parents would have to send their children elsewhere.

3. Turned their back on the community? What about principals like here in my feeder pattern who would only allow parental involvement on HER terms and pushed soo many parents away that they created their own charter school practically next door. What about school administrators who don’t fire ineffective teachers and principals, or just move them around? How does that serve the community? When we graduate students who are not equipped to lead successful lives and therefore end up in a life many would not consider positively contributing to society – the schools were a big part of that result. And you are concerned that parents turned their backs?

4. I was talking with a teacher friend of mine who if getting her PhD and currently works running a program to assist with suspended and frequently offending students in schools. She admitted that if she lived in an underperforming school district, that she would send her child to another school, but would still work within the community to make that community school better. That’s a beautiful act to take – however, if you are a single parent, or even a two parent household with multiple jobs/kids, it maybe all you can do to manage relationships at your children’s actual school. It could prove difficult to split time between a school your kids do attend and the neighborhood school.

5. Again, who is the racist one, who doesn’t believe in the capacity of students? You state that when we take the “good kids” out of the poor schools the schools just get worse and will drag society down. The only thing that determines how well a school does are the students and teachers in the school. Has nothing to do with the students who are not there. The money follows the child and that is the same everywhere.

6. Everything you say sounds good in theory. The problem is, when a parent is faced with what they should do with their child in the moment – its going to be what is best, not necessarily what is best for the community. Parents have a responsibility first to their child, not the community. Parents choose other schools not to diminish the community but to do their best to offer their child a quality education. Kids don’t have any time to waste. Every minute that they spend in an underperforming school is a school day the child will never get back. There is more on this posted here: Democrats are cavalier about students.

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Democrats are cavalier about students

©Depositphotos.com/Margaret Paynich

©Depositphotos.com/Margaret Paynich

I’ve been looking for a comparable circumstance for a long time and finally found one watching the news recently. There has been a great deal of coverage about international issues and the US’s engagement overseas. A reporter was asking a Republican member of Congress about President Obama’s intention not to put “boots on the ground” overseas. The Republican Congressman talked about how he thought it was inappropriate to say we wouldn’t send troops because we don’t know the extent of the security risks…etc. Basically, he was saying he was willing to put US troops on the ground to accomplish a mission. Republicans have always been a bit cavalier about sending our men and women overseas and for extended periods of time. Like they just don’t give it s second thought.

This is exactly how I feel about Democrats who stand in the way of education reform. I’ll ask them what they would tell their constituent if he/she came to him and said they wanted more options for their children, that their assigned school is underperforming. I here time and time again, “Just wait, give us time, they’ll get better, we need to invest more funding in our schools and they will be better.” This is a very similar attitude I heard from a Warwick City Councilor in her response to a post about my HA experience. One legislator told me, “They need to wait for the betterment of the school system as a whole.”

Well, you know what? How rude is it to tell a parent “I know the school isn’t very good, but please stick with it, we’re going to fix it.” Kids don’t have time to waste or wait. Every minute a student sits in a classroom with an ineffective teacher, every day that student does not receive a quality education, is a day they will never get back. We can’t just “wait” until the schools are better and then take our kids back to school. This is an unfair notion that does not move education forward and really sets our kids at a disadvantage. I asked that legislator if he would say that to a constituent, and he said yes. Somehow, I doubt that!!

Our kids deserve the chance have a high quality education everyday, not just once the school gets around to it. I feel like Democrats are cavalier about our kids getting a high quality education right now, in the same way that Republicans are cavalier about sending our men and women to war.