The Privilege of Choice

I believe in public schools.

My mother’s service to others as a public school teacher at a center-based special education school as well as Jonathan Kozol ‘s work in educational inequality and social justice made a huge impact on me from a young age. I vowed to myself that I would always teach in a public school setting.

My teaching career started at a district that boasted children of all races and backgrounds. It was home of a very well known Seventh-day Adventist University and many international students brought their families to the area for higher education opportunities. After moving to Belize, I volunteered at the local government school and held free workshops on Special Education. But, most of my teaching has been in private settings.

My innovative and inclusive approach is a bit too unstructured and out of the box for some government funded schools.

I’m a parent now and I want the best for my daughter. But I also want the best for ALL children! This is my duty as a citizen. When the time comes to think about formal schooling for my daughter, my ability to choose between a public, private, charter, or home-school co’op is a sign of privilege.

If you choose to send your children to a private or charter school, you need to think about giving back to your community. When you choose not to enroll your child, you are taking valuable resources away from the public school. Including your time and support.

How can we help make the public schools a better place? What can WE do to make a difference for ALL children?

Most of the staff at public schools are brilliant, caring, and service-oriented adults who are trying their best to break through barriers of a system that does not provide equal resources to all children. Many of my friends and family are public educators.They are not making much money but their passion drives them to make change.

Their passion gets them out of bed each day and they find ways to instill a love for learning while producing the results needed on standardized tests. Because it is these tests that fuel the district financially and provide resources for the kids that need them.

We must continue to improve our public schools. And fight for what is right.

Parents of privilege-if you are not sending your child to a public school—do something for your community. Consider volunteering or donating resources to a public school or public educational venture.

And continue to fight hard to pay teachers what they are worth.