None of These Politicians Who Are Running for Office Are For Real Talking About Education

Outrage: You Want Our Vote, We Demand Your Plan

I was at a community meeting the other night and an eighth-grader stood up and said, “If we’re all one district then why is my community seeing so many disparities?” When we’re forcing kids to be the ones to call out that they’re being played when it comes to education, we’ve really messed up. I have a bone to pick with some of these politicians—incumbents and challengers. During campaign season, y’all bombard us with petitions, commercials, social media ads and phony community events that are supposed to make up for your lack of presence and engagement the whole time you’ve been in office. But none of y’all are for real talking about education. Just take Chicago as an example of all the typical talking points. Our former police chief Garry McCarthy is running for mayor and says, “ Students need to feel safe.” One of his gazillion opponents is the current head of the county, Toni Preckwinkle, who says kids need more resources to succeed. And gubernatorial challenger J.B. Pritzker stands on the bland platform of “a quality public education for every child in Illinois.” Duh, we know these things. Tell us something we don’t know—like how y’all going to actually tackle the deeper-rooted issues that have prevented real change up to now? Where are the candidates who are really going to fight for kids? Like, who’s talking about the 68 percent of eighth-graders who aren’t proficient in reading? Who’s willing to fight alongside the parents and students who are suing in violation of their right to literacy? Who’s challenging the power push and pull between school districts, teachers unions, charters, private schools and legislators—fights that usually brush aside the actual needs of students and families? Who’s willing to not just acknowledge but own responsibility for the enormous and unconscionable gaps between what White students get and what Black and Brown students are given? Who’s not afraid to take the gloves off and get their hands dirty in the name of educational justice? Who has real solutions??

Hope: Fired Up, Ready to Go!

The old adage of, “If you want something done, you have to do it yourself” never gets old. And who did we hear that from most of the time? Our parents! So now I’m thinking that must be the creed for these parent advocacy groups around the country because they’re not waiting on policymakers or administrators to do what they feel needs to be done. They’re taking matters into their own hands. Like The Memphis Lift. https://twitter.com/memphis_lift/status/1054848974467682304 Here’s what these Memphis parents are doing. They’ve built a parent power organization that many around the country literally marvel over. And their main goal is to keep empowering families. They’ve already reached over 1,000 parents through their community outreach and parent trainings. They’re holding national summits to caucus with other advocates from around the country. This weekend they’re hosting the Third Annual Parent Summit where the plan is to discuss issues like school access, quality and unified enrollment. They’re making sure that everyone who has a hand in education in Memphis is held accountable and that students and families get the resources they need. And if anyone if caught slipping, they’re demanding answers. https://twitter.com/DeidraTML_CS/status/1020113390537248768 Most importantly, they’re proving wrong the people who say that parents shouldn’t have a seat at the table. https://twitter.com/LadyTenn/status/1052961391529914369 The Memphis Lift is unapologetic in their mission and proves every day that this movement of #PowerfulParents is necessary and unstoppable. Get in stride!
Tanesha Peeples
Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work—“If not me, then who?” As the former Deputy Director of Activist Development for brightbeam, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for change in the public education system. Her passion for community and relentless mission for justice and liberation drive her in uplifting and amplifying the voices and ...

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