I must confess I have been guilty of living in my own privileged bubble. It wasn’t until I had a child approaching school age that I began to think about public schools in my area, Jefferson Parish. I had just ignored issues that were all around me. Not because I didn’t think they applied to me, simply because I didn’t think at all.
Let’s support the good
It’s so disheartening to hear time and time again “the public schools here are awful.” There are over 6,000 full time employees in the Jefferson Parish Public School System with nearly half of those being certified teachers. I have not met anywhere near all of those teachers, but the ones I have met, they love their students. They work hard to give them what is best. We need to do better to support these teachers and recognize their dedication. We need to not simply dismiss the work they do in our community as bad.
We have the power
These schools are our schools. We can help determine what type of schools they will be. We can vote on policies that will create changes within them, we can show up to meetings to learn about what’s going on, we can chose to send our children to these schools, and we can be active parents in that school community.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a concerned parent. A parent who takes an active part in their child’s education. But that’s not something all kids have. So I choose to show up for my kid and for other kids who may not have someone in their corner concerned about them. Because my kid doesn’t just deserve a great education, all kids do. Research shows us that when parents care and actively get involved, children will go further and do much better in their education journeys.
Why I love my son’s school
We chose public school for my son. We couldn’t be happier with his teachers and the education he is getting. He is a part of a wonderful and active school community. He comes home happy and eager to show off all of his new skills. He comes home sharing observations and asking questions about some friends who may do things differently than we do in our family. This has opened up the door for many conversations about diversity and respect.
Call to action
So my call to action for everyone is: Reevaluate your school situation. Could public school work for you and your family? Get involved. Show up to community meetings. Learn more about the schools in your area. Vote on the policies that will improve our schools and vote for the people who want that also. Please do not generally bash public schools. I realize we live in an area where religious education is entrenched in our society. Some families would never make any other choice than that, and that is fine. But please don’t just throw out “the public schools here are terrible” without having any experience or facts to back up such claims.
Good schools are good for everyone
When we have good schools in our community, everyone wins. Property values go up, and a stronger and greater sense of community emerges. When our children attend public schools, they get to make friendships and learn alongside lots of different kids. Kids who may look different than them, may come from a totally different culture, or believe differently. This helps prepare kids for life where they will likely have to work with a diverse group of people.