Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called for racial and economic justice during his “I Have A Dream” speech. Yet today, over half a century later, the opportunity Dr. King fought for remains out of reach for many of America’s children. A closer view reveals the imbalance is more pronounced than during Dr. King’s lifetime. The fight over income inequality is at its greatest in more than 50 years, and school segregation is on the rise. In San Antonio, the problem is magnified because the independent education system has created a public education nightmare.
Dr. King once lamented that education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking. To think incisively and to think for one's self is very difficult. Many times, we have discussed the propensity of the average person to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half-truths, prejudices, and propaganda. As a person who was born into a family where there was no choice of school until my mother decided to interrupt the status quo, I have witnessed the effects of a lack luster education system. Many have sacrificed everything to eradicate segregation in the name of education and human decency. That dedication has caused me to place education on my Mount Rushmore of personal achievement.
Many find themselves often wondering whether modern education is fulfilling its purpose. A great majority of the so-called educated people do not think logically or scientifically. Many teachers find themselves captive in an environment that incents professionals to quit and stay! Educators feel trapped in a system that no longer adequately provide resources to effectively teach. Teachers are an obvious example of a profession where unconscious bias can have a profound effect on the lives of marginalized families. Negative beliefs about underprivileged held by school staff have very serious consequences. The negative beliefs are very resistant to change partly because teachers and others in the institution think the beliefs are a rational conclusion based on logic and personal experience. In fact, however, the beliefs stem from unfounded and untested assumptions about the way the world works and comprise the individual narratives that are ingrained in institutional culture. The results speak for themselves; underprivileged children fall further behind and parents feel powerless.
Watch Quincy on Dr. Doug's Show Below!
Over the past few years school choice has grown in popularity. Initially, school choice was a code term for privatized education. Today, school choice is exactly that, an opportunity for parents to take charge of their children’s education. For that to happen parents required unfiltered information. Did you know that 82% of parents can’t name a school other than their zoned school district schools? Making matters worse resource-restricted parents are at an even bigger disadvantage due to lack of school choice information available to them. Texas based nonprofit, Families Empowered (FE), hopes to bridge this gap by providing parents resources on how to research and evaluate school options for their children. To further empower parents, FE launched Apply San Antonio (Apply SA) on Nov. 1, 2019.
Apply SA is a program that allows parents comprehensive way to research and apply to all K-12 school choice options with ONE deadline, Feb 10, 2020. Apply SA is the FIRST organization to provide this type application process for all three school choice options – private, public magnet and charter schools. FE even helps find financial assistance to the private schools, making them truly a one stop resource for parents looking for school choice options for their children. Families Empowered celebrated National School Choice Week with a city-wide open house at various schools in San Antonio on Saturday, Jan. 18. Students, parents, and community members were invited to stop by participating schools between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to learn more about what makes each school a unique learning environment.
Dr. Doug speak to Families Empowered, Quincy Boyd
The city-wide open house event was the first of its kind in Texas, with traditional public schools, public charter schools, and private schools working collaboratively to see it come to fruition. Families Empowered will be hosting a similar city-wide open house in Austin. "Our goal is to ensure that all parents feel they are welcomed and supported by their school and community leaders in their search for the right school for their child,” said Quincy Boyd, Director of School and Community Partnerships at Families Empowered.
Dr. King saw the goal of education as more than performance on high-stakes tests or the acquisition of job skills or career competencies. He saw it as the cornerstone of free thought and the use of knowledge in the public interest. School choice has the potential to finally make his dream come to fruition. While jailed in Birmingham Dr. King lamented, “America today cannot wait to transform education. We’ve been far too complacent and too passive. We have perpetuated poverty and social failure for far too long. The need is urgent and the time for change is now.” Real triumph over educational inequalities can only come from a deeper investment in our schools and communities and a true commitment to tackling poverty, segregation, and issues affecting students with special needs and bilingual education.
Families Empowered has motivated all schools in San Antonio to become more accountable and finally given power back to the parents. The “dream is alive”