At my core, I believe that our community as a whole is better served when everyone’s child (not just mine) gets a quality education. And, along those lines, I believe there are those less willing and able to speak out for themselves that are better served when I add my voice to the community (in this case DISD) in which we are all a part.
But this year, my beliefs have been at war with my heart and mind, which has been embarrassing for someone who has been vocally supportive of public education for so long. In short, it came time for me to practice what I preached…and I paused.
This kid starts kindergarten in the fall. He has a bright mind, full of questions about how things work, why they work that way and he is always looking for a new “project”. I want his brain to be challenged, his heart to be nurtured and his perception of reality to include as much of a complete and full view of the world as we are able to give him. Can over crowded schools in run down buildings provide a back drop for a thriving learning environment? Or is he himself becoming the statistic I want him to be aware of that not all children are able to go to school in safe, clean schools. You know the mom speech…”You are lucky, not all kids get to do X”.
Photo Credit: Carrie Smith Photography
One one hand, I find myself excited by the promise I see on the horizon at DISD. We are a city on the brink of great change within our public school system…if we don’t screw it up. I’m excited by the leadership of Mike Miles and his “Choice Schools” proposal…and then I come across things like this.
I’m told that my child is considered less worthy of needed facility funds because we have a school with few students on free and reduced lunch. Or to paraphrase a speaker I recently heard, DISD wants to keep the parents of the top schools just happy enough they don’t leave while bringing other schools up to par.
I thought about this approach in the context of my marriage. What if I kept my husband just happy enough that he didn’t want to leave? What kind of life am I setting him up for? One where he will thrive and succeed? Or one where he will just get by?
I see the constant infighting and bickering amongst the DISD board members and I wonder if they will ever be able to achieve the greatness I see ahead. It’s there. We can reach it. I want to. My friends want to. We are not the elitist parents you (trustees) have made us out to be. We care about our children, and the children at all of the DISD schools. We know in 20 years, our children will all be figuring out bigger, more complex problems together…and it
is to all of our benefit if my child, her child, his child and their child all receive the first-class quality education that I know DISD can provide. If that’s their focus. Please don’t let us down. Please don’t make us go. We want to stay. And, we would like for our children to stay in buildings with adequate facilities. Their basic needs should be met. Safety should not be a concern for parents…not in Lakewood, not in West Dallas, North Dallas, Oak Cliff or Oaklawn.