If you are local, you know that there is a new proposed community school district before the legislature, and it is a hot button topic these days. The idea is to break away from the broken and crumbling East Baton Rouge Parish School System to form an independent, community district with neighborhood schools (similar to what was done in Zachary and Central, which now have some of the best schools in the state).
We have met great opposition. There are magnet parents who worry that their children would be forced to be taken out of magnet schools and put into these schools and wouldn’t receive the same benefits they have now. To those parents I want you to know we do take these concerns with great compassion, and it is my understanding that the board for the new district wants to build every school in the district to have the awesome benefits of the few magnet schools in the area. And I know that can happen. The magnet program is one thing the parish has done well, but stopping thousands of students from getting a quality education so 1,500 displaced students can stay in the magnet program just isn’t fair. Children shouldn’t have to win a lottery to get a good education.
Some believe it would racially divide Baton Rouge, and if you know me, you KNOW I would NOT be for something that promoted racial division. That is the direct antithesis of everything I stand for. However, combining the records of present public school attendance, population data and the numbers of white children who live in the area that go to private schools, we truly believe that the racial divide will be about 50/50 in the new district (which is much better than the 80black/20white as it currently stands).
Some people just want to give the EBRPSS more time to work it out. I can tell you that the last thing this parish needs is more time. They have had PLENTY of time at the expense of hundreds of thousands of kids getting some of the worst education in the country. Louisiana ranks 49 out of 50 states for education, and our parish is one of the worst in the state. Between the crazy fiscal irresponsibility, the changes in leadership every 3-4 years, the politics… It’s enough. Enough is enough. We are taking back our schools, our kids, and our community.
Finally, I want to tell you what the new school district would mean to our family. I can throw facts and figures out at you all day, but what matters to me most is my kids… Here is my letter to you:
I have a beautiful special needs son adopted from Uganda, a brilliant and gifted daughter, and a baby boy. My daughter needs a program that will challenge her, while my older son needs a program that will come along side him and help him to be the best he can be. Currently my family’s community school is Westminster which has a “D” rating. Even if it worked to send my special needs son there, I would have to ship my daughter to a different school to get her an education at a gifted program or magnet school that would benefit her best. Putting a five year old little girl on a bus at 6:30 am to be brought to a transfer station, to sit and wait for another bus, to finally get to two school hours later is acenine. Then her getting home at 4:30-5pm after 9-10 hours of being away from home is simply lunacy. If I am forced to send my children who are one grade level apart to two different schools, she will be forced to ride the bus because I cannot be two places at once, and this is unacceptable.
My family needs ONE school that fits all our needs, closeby our home. We need one place that will give my special needs son all that he requires to grow, my gifted daughter all that she needs to be challenged and learn, and a place my youngest can go in a few years that no matter his needs, we know they will be met. There is NOT ONE SCHOOL in EBRP that meets these requirements! This is unacceptable!!
It is unacceptable that we keep pouring our tax money into a system that keeps making the same poor choices over and over and over again, stuck in the “old school” way of doing things, run by the same ways of thinking and politics. It is time for a community school district where children go to neighborhood schools, where children can get a great education at just a regular school where they don’t have to win a lottery to gain entry. It’s time for kids to go to school with their neighbors, with their friends from right down the street. One reason schools in large metro areas like Houston are still good is because they are broken into smaller districts rather than one huge lump. It makes sense!
If a bill passed that helps just 1,000 students get vouchers for private schools, I beg you to support this one that will help tens of thousands of children get a quality education. Our only other choice is to move out of the parish and away from our family. It will be such a shame if Baton Rouge continues to lose the best and brightest kids because their parents refuse to be part of the system that no one will help us fix.
Please support this amendment, for me, my family, and the tens of thousands of other families whose kids deserve a quality education.
I would love to discuss this further with anyone who has questions or concerns. Feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, you can check out this interview I did with a local news station here.
Check out the Facebook page here and feel free to ask any questions or voice any concerns and a member of the board will try and get back with you.
Or sign the petition to help this bill pass here: