City school parent Wanda Simmons’ daughter will attend the new Capital Prep Harbor School, founded by educator Steve Perry, recently funded with the backing of Governor Dan Malloy and the state legislature. Charter schools have their share of detractors including school board candidate Maria Pereira who argue they siphon funds from traditional school districts. It will be an issue with school board seats up for grabs this election. In this commentary defending more school choice, Simmons asserts many school children are “more likely to go to prison than attend college.” Simmons’ commentary follows:
I have been a part of the Connecticut education system for 49 years, from Stamford to Milford, West Haven to Bridgeport.
My child recently won a spot in Capital Prep Harbor School in Bridgeport. She has attended traditional public schools her entire life, and I am grateful for the opportunity we will have this year. My daughter’s experience in school thus far has been awful and demeaning.
As a parent, I tried to find a school that meets my child’s needs. But regardless of where we went, we continued to struggle.
I am hopeful that now, with a spot secured at Capital Prep, we can stop moving around and focus on what’s most important–a great education that leads to opportunity in the future.
We all know that changing the current system is important. The people in my community know that if it doesn’t change, the future of our children grows dimmer and dimmer. Our children need to know that they are valued and their lives matter to the world.
But right now, that isn’t the case. Right now, they feel stereotyped and undervalued. The expectations on them are low. They are not expected to graduate. Many of them are more likely to go to prison than attend college. It’s unacceptable.
Every community should have good functional schools in their areas. And each family should have an option of how they want their child or children educated.
They shouldn’t be forced to have their children attend a school year after year that does not meet their needs.
For parents like me though, there is hope. Because of the tenacious advocacy from Governor Malloy and the conviction of some principled legislators, parents like me are finally getting the choice they deserve.
Because our elected leaders made the choice to fund two new public charter schools and allow existing schools to expand, more children will attend public charter schools than ever before.
Simply put–we are finally taking the steps we need to take to make sure that every child has access to a great school.
We still have a long way to go. We need to make sure that our public charter schools receive the same level of funding as their district counterparts.
But what we accomplished this year is significant. On a personal level, I have hope for my child’s future. And the fact is, this is the first time in a really long time I can honestly say that.