Parent: What Would You Do If Your Child Lacked Access To A Good School?

Claudia Phillips, a supporter of charter schools, made her pitch to state legislators recently about funding inequities. In this commentary she declares, “For those who oppose my child’s right to fair funding and a quality education, I have to ask: what would you do if your child didn’t have access to a good school? Would you stand by and let them slip through the cracks?

There is a fundamental inequity in the way that Connecticut funds public school students, and this inequity penalizes Black and Brown children who live in low-income communities. Even more so, it penalizes those children, who happen to also go to public charter schools. Children like mine.

This was my message when I spoke to members of the House Appropriations Committee at the Capitol in Hartford. This will be the message that I will not stop repeating until it is fixed, on behalf of my children and the children of my community in Bridgeport.

My son attends Achievement First Amistad High School, a public charter school. My daughters graduated from Amistad High, and are currently attending Boston College and Bucknell University. We are so proud of them. Amistad is proving every day that the low expectations society sets for Black and Latino children are nothing more than bigotry. Our school is rated number one in the entire state of Connecticut. By another measure, we are the 20th best school in the entire country. And yes–our school is almost entirely made up of students of color.

My family came to Amistad because we were fed up with having too few options, tired of the labels and low expectations for our children. We filled out the lottery form and prayed like many of our families that our children would get a seat in this school.

Despite our school’s incredible success, our school is still in financial risk every single year because each public charter school student is underfunded by thousands of dollars each year.

This inequity persists in spite of the efforts of hundreds of parents who have written letters, called their legislators, traveled to the Capitol, spoken out at hearings, and organized meetings in their communities. Year-after-year, we’re told that nothing can change. But we refuse to give up. We refuse to be silenced. Because we have yet to be given a single good reason that our children should be worth less than any other public school student.

For those who oppose my child’s right to fair funding and a quality education, I have to ask: what would you do if your child didn’t have access to a good school? Would you stand by and let them slip through the cracks?

I doubt that any parent would allow that to happen if they had a choice. Because as parents, we all want what’s best for our children. For my kids, and thousands of others like them, that means being able to go to a school that prepares them for success and gets the funding it needs to survive.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when looking for ways to save for your child’s future. A junior ISA ( is effectively a tax-free investment for children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and anyone else who wants to contribute towards the child’s future.

No Connecticut student deserves anything less. Sadly, organized entities spread their false narrative, and work actively to take this choice away from families. I would hope that in a perfect world, they would take their resources and time to fight the broken educational system that has plagued my city for over 30 years!



    1. Rumor has it that the question raised by BOE member Chris Taylor about this “budgeted” but not necessarily, researched or examined, expense item, might have an alternative. UB has stepped up to offer their facility for the multi-high-school graduation and their ‘ask’ is for the expense of security personnel for the event. Ka-ching!! Taylor’s question conserved at least $34,000 for the school system. Any more questions, Chris? Time will tell.

  1. It is a waste of money to spend $37K on combined graduations. These schools all have gyms and auditoriums (not all). The BOE is always crying about money but they have no problem wasting what they have

  2. Plenty of high-poverty schools receive less than their fair share of state and local funding, leaving students in high-poverty schools with fewer resources than schools attended by their wealthier peers. All we can do is fight for our children to receive what they should already be getting. It saddens me that this is still going on for many years, since i was a child! And now it’s happening to my daughter! The cycle has got to stop! We must fight for EVERY kid to receive the proper education they deserve! No matter their race/age/residence our youth are our youth!


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