Saturday, August 22, 2009

An important letter from a Parent Commission fighter

In the past few months, there was some talk at the street protests about the position the Parents Commission was taking in the battle over school governance. Were they caving? Were they supporting something less than all out No to Mayoral Control?

So it's really good to read over at Ednotes the position of one activist member of the PC, Benita Rivera, who has taken the time — and has had the clarity of mind — to lay out the story of the group's campaign against the inexplicable war that elected officials have been waging against New Yorkers for more than six years.

Please read the whole letter, because it is interesting, humbling, and necessary.

But if you're running out the door, at least read these bits:
Membership in the PC was (is?) open to all public school parents and to those who represented parents in education advocacy organizations. It is a completely independent, unfunded, parent volunteer entity . . .

Contrary to anyone who poo-poo'ed the Parent Commission's work, we DID and still DO oppose mayoral control . . .

Finally — what makes this on-going battle over education so very personal to me is the hurt I carry about my youngest being royally screwed by this system's control over his educational opportunities. In a few years, my grandbaby will enter the same system, likely judged as just another poor, Black kid attending a mediocre public school. I continue to confront race and income bias as the root of all evil, and recognize that no single group will ever be able to eradicate the achievement gap and obliterate the inequities by themselves. And so, I remain a soldier with like minded others in the Parent Commission, iCOPE, Neighborhood Schools for Community Control, 3-R's Coalition, BYNEE, GEM, ICE and the Coalition for Public Education. I pray that unity in our common cause will prevail.

But we really need to work differently from now on, better respecting varying approaches to skinning the fat cats, trusting enough to strategize TOGETHER from every angle – in order to mobilize more people and make the kind of history that public education in this city, deserves. If we succeed in working differently — but all together as public education activists and parents of all colors and incomes, I have faith that we can actually spark the fire of change in education policy our city needs. When that happens in the big Apple, I also believe all America will take a bite.
Inspiring, no?


— jw

2 comments:

samantha said...

"I take great offense at Norm, who is not a parent or minority or unemployed telling me what's best for my child."
Samantha
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One of the Many said...

Just found this Norm, thanx for posting it. Too bad those fighting words are still relevant today but I'm glad tht GEM is really doing a lot to outreach to communities that look like me. Keep up the pressure and the good work! - Be