We are Tired of Waiting

SRC

The title of this post is taken from the words of four public schools parents in Philadelphia.

They recently wrote these words in an op-ed.

Additional excerpts from their op-ed are below. The piece is so powerful I had trouble cutting out any parts:

As parents, nothing is more important to us than great schools for our kids…

Yet year after year, tens of thousands of Philadelphia families are forced to send their kids to schools that are, by any measure, failing students.

And year after year, families in our communities are told to just wait for the next “fix” that will – no kidding, this time for real – make these schools great. Wait until we have funding. Wait until we fix this law or that law. Wait until we have a new plan.

We are tired of waiting.

We demand better educational opportunities in Philadelphia – now.

And that’s why we lent our voices to a campaign called “No More Waiting” (nomorewaiting.org).

The evidence shows that right now, good charter schools are the best answer. Why? Charter schools are working for kids in Philadelphia. Just ask the families of the 65,000 students who have chosen to enroll in charters, or the 22,000 more students who are on waiting lists…

According to a recent study by experts from Stanford University, African American students in poverty who attended charters are more likely to get ahead in reading and math. In other words, better results today – no waiting.

These are the facts. Charters represent the best opportunity for tens of thousands of African American and Hispanic kids to get a great education right now. Yet most rhetoric about charter schools in the city ignores these facts.

Instead, critics profess concern about our families while telling us that charters – the best way to get results today – are a luxury we just can’t afford. What they’re really saying hasn’t changed much for decades. To tens of thousands of families all over Philadelphia, the critics of charters are saying: Hold up. Wait until we develop another plan to fix public schools.

Two months ago, the School Reform Commission had an opportunity to provide immediate help for thousands of children and families in underperforming schools. The SRC reviewed 40 applications for new charters, many of which were submitted by operators who are already running some of the best schools in the city. Yet the SRC rejected the vast majority of them – telling tens of thousands of families to keep playing the waiting game.

We cannot wait any longer. Our children need better schools right now.

We agree that public schools need more funding, and that they deserve a plan that resolves the funding crisis that batters our schools year after year. But we refuse to accept the status quo while politicians haggle over how much funding is enough and who gets to spend it. Those are priorities for adults.

Our priorities are our children and their future. Kids in schools that continue to struggle don’t have any more time to waste. Each year they fall further and further behind.

While politicians fight over a funding solution, let’s spend on schools that are working, schools that are getting results for our children.

Right now.

To restate a common theme of this blog:

1) Right now, across the country, there are great schools that want to serve more students.

2) Right now, across the country, there are families living in poverty that want to attend these schools.

3) Right now, local governments across the country, which are entrusted with providing educational opportunities to children, make it illegal for these schools to serve these families.

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