How a Teacher Gave Up on my Son, and How I Responded

My name is Joanna and I am the parent of third grader Oumar, a student at a public elementary school in Canarsie. I have seen firsthand how the quality of my son’s teachers directly impacts his chances at success.

When Oumar began underperforming on his tests last year, I went to his teacher for advice on how to help him improve. The teacher said there was little she could do to help Oumar, and insisted he needed an Individualized Education Program (IEP). With no real reason for the IEP, I decided to decline the proposal, as I felt that Oumar just needed an extra push to succeed. I went to my son’s teacher again in April and asked for extra homework practice or help from her after school. The teacher continued to press the idea of an IEP instead of working with Oumar to give him the tools he needed to succeed.

Last January, I transferred Oumar out of the elementary school in Canarsie because I felt his old school did little to teach students, preferring instead to write students off. After I switched Oumar to a nearby elementary school, his academic performance improved dramatically. His new teacher can’t understand why an IEP was ever suggested.

By Joanna P., a mother in Canarsie, Brooklyn


The Wright v New York parent plaintiffs represent a struggle that families across New York experience in the fight for educational justice. This post is a part of a series that highlights parents who are speaking up for underserved students in New York schools. It’s time for education leaders to #hearourvoice.

Join StudentsFirstNY

Connect With Us

New Report