A mother observes injustice in the schools and issues a call to action for parents.
I was scrolling down my Facebook feed one day and came across a status from my best friend, who’s a substitute for the School District of Philadelphia, it read as follows:
Me: So what did you have for lunch today?
Students: Nuffin! We just had crackers and cheese.
Me: Right, that was the snack but what was for lunch?
Students: That’s what we had! And we didn’t have nuffin to drink.
As someone who’s been in the trenches fighting for education equality, I was shocked at how surprised I was to learn that the district finds it suitable to feed children cheese and crackers for lunch.
I consulted another friend who’s a principal in the district and he confirmed that was the lunch served on this particular day.
He referenced the district’s website as proof. And there it was, in black in white, the menu for lunch that day: crackers, cheese and yogurt.
This blatant disregard for our youth was all too familiar, but yet it still managed to appall me. I felt as if I, a taxpayer, had been smacked in the face by a stack of my misused tax dollars.
An article I wrote last year about pulling my daughter from school during the days when they were testing was published by Techbook Online. My consistent engagement in the system is because of the education I received and type of teaching and learning my daughter is experiencing now.
In my opinion, the conditions are purposely set to have our children—children of color and in the urban communities—fed into a system that continues to enslave their minds and spirits, while those running the system continue to gain power, money and greed. And we are all too familiar with the conditions I am referring to: Overcrowded classrooms, old buildings with heating and cooling issues, no playing area, and modest access to technology, no nurses, no counselors and no support.
How long will we sit idly by while the system sets our children up to be killed in the street by each other and law enforcement?
If you say nothing about education and resources for inner city youth, then be equally silent about black-on-black-crime. By remaining silent about the current state of our education system, you are aiding mass incarceration.
Don’t speak to me about the lost generation and how our youth have no respect for themselves or others, if you allow the schools that your tax dollars pay for continue to operate under their current conditions.
If we believe black lives matter, then the conditions of schools in black neighborhoods must matter just the same.
This is my official call to action: Every parent of a child in the School District of Philadelphia should opt-out of standardized testing.
Whereas, common core standards are the same across the board, then so should the conditions under which our children are taught.
These tests determine what schools are failing, but the truth is none of them are, the district is failing the schools and it is time to opt-out and say no more!
CLICK HERE for more information on how to opt-out of testing.
by Felicia Roche
Thanks for reading!
Felicia Roche is a youth advocate and mother living in Philadelphia.
Photo: AP/Rich Pedroncelli