As a parent it is my duty to ensure that my two daughters have access to all the tools necessary to reach their full potential. And that is why education is the issue of utmost concern to me. While changes made to Louisiana’s public education system have resulted in some increased anxiety, I feel that these are new opportunities for positive change that will be of benefit not only to my children but others as well.
There was a time when EBR Schools were of the highest caliber. Over time, we allowed our expectations to be diminished and, slowly but surely, parental involvement and academic success for many children was hindered. Despite being a child who was succeeding, I was forced to leave my neighborhood school where my parents had access to me when needed and the ability to attend school events. My commute went from a 10-minute walk to a 20-mile ride across town with plenty of pick-up stops along the way. I can remember waking up at 4:30 every morning to catch the bus for 5:00am. I would go on to experience this travesty again as I attempted to enter a high school closer to home. But again, against the will of my family, I was forced to attend a school across town. The employed adults who made these decisions were not subject to these long days for their work, but felt as though there would be no negative impact on children who were trying desperately each day to get a good education. Unfortunately, the impact on me and my educational success was devastating. These multiple transitions resulted in me becoming highly introverted with no desire to participate in extracurricular activities. With lack of transportation to take part and a complete disconnection from the students and school community around me, I was completely out of place. To me, high school was essentially a failure.
Despite my struggles, I know that every single child can learn and can succeed. My daughters provide such proof. The key to this happening is ensuring that every child has an excellent teacher and access to only the very best education. The children from my generation are now parents of the children who fill today’s classrooms. Because of our own experiences over time, we lost respect for the process and faith that we have the power to create positive change for our kids. Recent changes in Louisiana prove that parents can be heard, can create new opportunities for students to be successful, and have the power to get our kids what they deserve when it comes to a quality education. As a result, parents I talk to now have a renewed sense of hope and faith in the system, players, and possibilities.
While recent changes were well overdue and are to be celebrated, they alone will not solve all of our educational woes. Now is the time for parents to come together and continue to have their voices heard as catalysts for more positive change. My faith and ability to be effective in positively impacting the quality of my children’s education has been renewed due to my recent involvement with Stand for Children. Stand has supported me in getting engaged and I encourage parents, teachers, and elected leaders to get involved as well. On Saturday, June 16th at 10:00am you have the chance to do exactly that. I hope you’ll join us as we kick off efforts in Baton Rouge to engage more parents, educators, and community members in working together to ensure every child gets the excellent education they deserve. The event will be held at BREC, 6201 Florida Blvd. Children are welcome and will have the opportunity to enjoy fun and games at the event. I ask you to come and join me in standing for our children. Together, we can make a difference and we can succeed in giving our children better than what we had – and nothing less than the very best education they deserve.
Parent & Central High School Graduate (1998)