Today across the nation people are celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I, like many people across the country, am reflecting upon the iconic, “I Have a Dream” speech. What stands out to me most in his speech is the theme of equality. Although the Brown Vs. The Board of Education decision in 1954 declared school segregation unconstitutional, not much has changed. Across the country, schools remain separate and not equal. Whether it be the story out of Baltimore where children wear winter coats due to heating problems or my personal experience a few years back where every urban high school option for my children had a D or F rating.
Quality education across the country has become a luxury for the wealthy with socio-economics drawing the line on where children will receive the best education. Families that don’t have the means to move across those lines are stuck in failing schools systems. Access to quality education is a civil right. Poverty is not a reason to allow schools to fail children year after year. Just like the civil rights movement brought a lot of uncomfortable change to our country, so will school choice. It starts with parents like myself who refuse to accept that my children cannot succeed.
A lot of Indianapolis parents and teachers are upset because of the closure of several public high schools at the end of this school year due to declining enrollment. I am also concerned about how it will affect the community, but I am also looking forward to the changes Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) is making to move towards providing a quality education to the children it serves. Parents want more from their schools and IPS is listening.
Failing urban schools are no longer business as usual in Indiana. Things are getting better but we have a long way to go. As parents, we have to make sure our voices are heard and we have to demand quality education for all children no matter the zip code.
Check of these other pieces in Indy/Ed MLK Day 2018 Reflection series:
“Our Work is More Important Than Ever Before” by Barato Britt
“Teaching the Way Martin Luther King Would” by Andrew Pillow
“We Need More Dreamers” by Shawnta S. Barnes
“Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the Era of 45” by David McGuire