As a parent of two recent Hartford Public School graduates, I have something to say about the governor’s reform package. To me, SB-24 was the first time anyone in our state government got serious about fixing education. Before, it was like state leaders took no real action about the #1 biggest achievement gap – just talked!
The governor’s six meaningful changes were different. But now that they have been cut back and slowed down by legislators who should be doing right by families and students, we’re in a holding pattern. To me, it’s a huge mistake. Time means everything to a child held back.
I realize that if we’re not lighting up legislators’ phones and threatening to vote them out of office, they just listen to others instead. But still, I was hoping that this year, finally, legislators would have done right by us, by our kids, and made serious change happen. With what took place last week was real change being put off and I can’t tell you how angry that makes me.
You can’t live in Hartford and not see the improvements in our schools over the last five years – because we focused on bold changes, not just proposed, but put in place.
But I don’t think legislators want to ask schools to change all that much. They don’t want to put the responsibility on schools to fix poverty. But let me tell you something. Schools are the answer. They are the only place that students go every day to get their needs met. Good schools will bring parents, teachers, and the community together to meet student needs, just like they did for my child, who went up two grade levels in one year. This is what schools can do. For many families, schools are the only solution we have for poverty.
So for legislators to take so much out of this bill is not okay to parents like me. In our communities that really need help, we need to keep the momentum rolling. Don’t let the air out of the tires.
Lourdes Fonseca is a parent organizer with Achieve Hartford.