Parents Want Debate Moderators to Ask Democrats Whether They Support Black and Latino Families on Public School Choice
Education policy discussions often overlook families of color, treating them as objects rather than active participants. These discussions dictate what is best for our children, without considering our perspectives or involving us in decision-making processes.
Unfortunately, even in the Democratic presidential debates, the voices and concerns of families of color are barely acknowledged. Except for a brief mention of busing and our own research on candidates’ plans, there is little focus on the issues that affect most of our children. While college affordability takes center stage, K-12 education is often dismissed with superficial remarks.
As parents of The Oakland REACH, we demand a change in the upcoming sixth debate, the final one of 2019, which will be held in Los Angeles on Thursday. We urge for a meaningful discussion on K-12 education, with a specific emphasis on providing quality education for all children.
To achieve this, we have written a letter to the moderators of the debate, including PBS NewsHour and POLITICO, expressing our concerns and requesting their attention. Our reach extends beyond Oakland, as we stand up for black and Latino parents across the country.
Our families have been betrayed by the American school system for generations. We desperately need better options for our children, and we deserve to hear where the candidates stand on this issue. Unfortunately, there is a growing fear that many candidates fail to grasp the challenges we face. Some of the proposed plans, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s, could hinder the creation of viable choices for parents in need, while simultaneously placing blame on them for the failure of their schools. This weekend’s education forum, organized by unions with a clear agenda to undermine the limited choices available to parents like us, only reinforced our doubts.
The truth is, for families like ours, public school choice often presents the only opportunity we have. Therefore, we demand to know each candidate’s position on increasing public school options. We believe that every candidate should outline their plans for supporting families who lack good choices.
Undoubtedly, expanding educational options for families can have complex consequences. However, what is worse than complexity is sending our children to underperforming schools and denying them a promising future. Our focus should shift from saving specific types of schools to saving our students. Every candidate should prioritize placing more children in high-quality schools, something that seems far from reality at present.
Ultimately, we need to prioritize conversations about families like ours. The stage of Thursday’s Democratic debate is an opportune starting point for this crucial dialogue.
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