Selected readings on US charter schools
AS pastor of Varick Memorial AME Zion Church in New Haven, I am staunchly in support of the governors’ education budget proposal. I’m also the visionary behind a grass-roots effort to start a new public charter school in New Haven.
My church sits in what is known as “the crime corridor” of New Haven, so more than others I see the need for more opportunities for our kids. Education where I live is a matter of life and death.
The demand is alarmingly high. Parents want high-performing charter schools in their communities. Why? Because all New Haven charter schools are out-performing traditional public schools as reported by the state Department of Education.
The waiting lists for Connecticut charter schools have well over 5,200 kids. In New Haven, 9,000 families applied for 2,000 seats. These numbers send a clear message that in underserved and disenfranchised communities, choice equals power.
Schools are anchors in communities. When you have a high-performing school that parents, teachers and residents rally around and support, the community is revitalized. You would be hard-pressed to find a charter school in Connecticut that is not largely supported by the neighborhood and parents whose children attend it.
My members and others are demanding more school choice for their children, and charter schools are a proven option.
People also understand that early childhood education is no longer an option but a necessity. We need charter schools that start with prekindergarten in New Haven, especially in the community I serve.
Booker T. Washington said, “If you can’t read, it will be hard to realize your dreams.” That’s even truer now. Sadly, today it’s common to see a high school student reading at an elementary level. We are failing our students and we are destroying their futures.
You can’t dare a child to dream and deny them the education it takes for the dream to be realized. If we don’t educate all of our children, they and the entire state will suffer.
The reality where I live is very stark: We either do a better job educating kids today or I’ll be burying them tomorrow.
Last year I went to the Capitol along with other clergy to urge legislators to support our communities through school reform, and thankfully this legislature made a promise that it would invest more into kids’ education. In essence, legislators wrote a check to fund more choices for parents. Last month, I returned to the Capitol, asking legislators to appropriate the funds to expand high quality charter schools.
A lot of people have written off communities such as Dixwell and Newhallville, where I serve, but our community is fighting for what’s best for our kids. We have the vision for change, we ask that legislators stand by their word and support this budget.
Source: New Haven Register – by The Rev. Eldren Morrison