My name is Harold, and I am the parent of sixth grader named Tanaisia. Over the years, Tanaisia has attended both public charter and traditional district schools, which has allowed me to fully see the differences in opportunities that are presented at each type of school.
Originally, Tanaisia began her education at a charter school, where she was successful and performed very well. When she was in the fourth grade, our family moved and Tanaisia had to make the transition into a traditional district school. Shortly into this transition, Tanaisia’s grades took a noticeable dip. As a concerned parent, I decided to take action and speak with her teacher. After asking the teacher why Tanaisia’s performance at school was so poor, the teacher put the blame on Tanaisia and offered simple excuses. Things became so bad that Tanaisia had to repeat the grade – something that never happened at her charter school.
After this happened, I decided to get more involved with the school. I attended every school meeting and conference, which eventually led to my involvement as a member of the PTA and CEC. Since then, Tanaisa has switched to a different school in the area, which also has a failing record. Due to certain laws restricting Tanaisa’s school options, we have a very limited choice in her education options.
After seeing the power of effective teachers and a quality education, and then watching my daughter’s performance drop in one failing school after another, I know how important it is that we invest in quality educators. Policies that keep teachers in the classroom, regardless of their performance, or ones that guarantee jobs for life, are wrong for our schools, our communities, and our children. If teachers aren’t doing their jobs and helping our students succeed, they have to go. The same is true for our political leaders.
By Harold W., a parent in East New York
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.