This morning I made the call.
My five-year-old, Miles, is on the waitlist for a charter school. And according to the data from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the district school he has been assigned to for kindergarten doesn’t work well for Latino little boys.
So I picked up the phone this morning and called Saint Catherine’s of Genoa school and asked if they have a spot for him next year. And they do. It will cost me about $4300 plus the cost of uniforms.
I’m a single parent. My ex-husband has stomach cancer. Maybe I start a GoFundMe page or — I can sell Lularoe and those nail sticker things on Facebook. But I’ll tell you this much: I’m not losing this kid in the system. NOT.
This past weekend I attended the Massachusetts Democratic State Convention in Worcester and was treated to yet another victory lap for the MTA’s Barbara Madeloni and the AFL-CIO’s Steve Tolman about their "victory" to defeat the expansion of charter schools in Massachusetts. What I didn’t hear was a plan for what we were going to do instead — or any mention of kids like mine who have been told that a charter schools are not possible for them — and the only alternative is a school that is broken.
While Madeloni (not a parent) and Tolman (a private school parent) crowed from the dais, they were largely ignored by the audience of Democratic activists. Tolman stood in front of the packed hall literally begging people to pay attention to him while he droned on about something or other. Even when he launched into his standard red-faced screaming routine, everyone in the DCU Center was pretty checked out. President Madeloni was largely ignored as well. I took this picture of the crowd while she was speaking:
Victory laps are all well and good — but they can only last for so long. Her overall message to the crowd? We must hold our elected officials accountable if they don’t uphold the platform — especially the part that calls for increase accountability for charter schools. But please don’t hold teachers accountable for failing our children.
While the MTA obviously made a compelling pitch for blocking the expansion of charter schools in Massachusetts — largely based on the false assertion that they depleted district school budgets — compounded with messaging that ignored student outcomes and pushed the idea that "charters aren’t bad, we just can’t afford any more of them right now."
Now we’re eight months after the election and I have yet to hear the MTA or any of the elected officials who backed the "No on 2" campaign do anything but crow about their "big win." Yes, you won an election. But you won exactly nothing for children.
The bottom line is this: there are still thousands of children in failing schools across Massachusetts. In schools where only 3% of black and brown children are reading or doing math at grade level in third grade. Thousands of kids in schools with zero percent proficiency in science on the fifth grade assessments.
The only plan I’ve heard from the MTA and others is: "Let’s just stop testing. That way we have no idea whether our schools are failing. Oh, and give us more money." Even the Boston Globe has taken to calling out the MTA for taking the train off the tracks.
Meanwhile, Miles has about 3 years to ensure that he’s reading on grade level or he’s a prime candidate for the school to prison pipeline.
Anyone ready to change their life starting today by letting me sell them some HerbalLife or weight loss supplements? While these "education leaders" are patting themselves on the back for a job well done, I gotta come up with $4300 for tuition plus uniform money to keep my kid from falling through the cracks.
What do you think?