In an article entitled, “School choice will lift up black community”, written in the USA Today on May 17, 2017 by the Urban League of Greater Miami, Inc.’s President and CEO Mr. T. Willard Fair, he wrote:
“Nobody cared when, for decade after decade, black kids were assigned to failure factories that set them up for a life of poverty and dependency. But give the parents of these children a choice to select alternatives, and suddenly the people who care about where these students go to school come crawling out of the woodwork.” He’s on point. We cannot stand ideal any longer and allow not only black students but any student to be assigned to failing schools and that all alternatives must be provided so that both parents can best decide what fits their child/children best and for students to have greater avenues for success.
As a parent, that’s all my wife and I think about. We cannot continue to wait on the sidelines and hope that someone will fix this problem for us. We should never settle for less expectations of our children but give them confidence, in a learning environment, that will allow him/her to release their full potential.
I’ll never forget the day when my wife Voletha told me that we would be celebrating the birth of our first son. It was by far the greatest day of my life. As the months and days before his arrival, I never thought that one of the most important decisions we would make for him was not the type of diapers he would wear, or what car seat to place him in, or what type of health insurance he would have, college savings, pediatricians, dentists, etc. If you’re a parent, all those things are critical but the question of what neighborhood we would live in and what type of school will he enroll in. I’ve worked or two Members of the United States Congress, three State Legislators and I was the Director of Governmental Affairs for the Colorado League of Charter Schools and I’ve spent years working for better options for kids but it really became personal when it came to my own. So not only were my advocacy efforts a part of my professional life but it was now a personal mission for my family.
Malcolm X once said, “education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today”.
Today, that same couple, will celebrate its 10-year wedding anniversary on September 8, 2017. That same couple who at the time didn’t realize the power of our voices, have become strong advocates for that now 7-year-old and his 4-year-old baby brother. We have seen the growth of our boys because we realized that our voices matter and the type of schools our sons attend matter.
I cannot express how imperative it is that community leaders, activist, clergy, elected officials, business leaders alike, work together and support strong alternatives for students – regardless of what they look like. Let’s not sit on the sidelines and hope that someone else will advocate for your child better than you will. You are his/her greatest advocate because the future of our communities are depending on what we do today.