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Access to High-Quality Schools | 12/02/2015

Nathlie Harris
Parent Member

Nathlie Harris has one little girl and is an active parent member of Stand for Children Indiana.

Nelson Mandela once wrote, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Well, if education is the most powerful weapon then why aren’t we as parents, leaders, and the community receptive to positive changes to the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) system?

On November 23, I attended the Parent Community Information Session sponsored by the Greater Indianapolis NAACP to address the upcoming changes and improvements within the IPS school system. I thought the session would be positive and in favor of change since the current education system has failed so many kids for many years. Unfortunately, I was disappointed and deeply saddened by the lack of professionalism shown by many attendees toward IPS Superintendent Dr. Ferebee and his administration. I was even more disappointed when no one in the audience stood to offer solutions to help our kids receive better educations. Instead of the session being informative, the session turned into an attack on Dr. Ferebee and his administration for offering realistic solutions for our kids to receive quality education. Here are some key facts the community should know:

1. Parents of children who attend IPS schools and invested community members have spent countless hours voicing their concerns to Dr. Ferebee on what changes they want to see happen in IPS schools.

2. The innovation and transformation ideas IPS is implementing were also suggested by IPS parents and Stand Indiana members.

3. Dr. Ferebee has attended numerous meetings to get community input about changes residents want to see happen in IPS.

As a parent, it is up to us to be our children’s first teacher and role model in exemplifying how to conduct ourselves in public, utilizing the proper resources to ensure their voices are heard for change, working together to come up with effective solutions, and then implementing the solutions to make an impact in schools and community. We can no longer continue to point our fingers, make excuses and expect for someone to hand something to us. We have to stand up, get educated, get involved, attend community meetings and be creative to find the necessary resources for our children to excel in school.

If a school fails to improve, we should hold ourselves accountable for not doing enough to support the new and innovative ideas the current administration is trying to implement, for not attending meetings at the school, for not educating ourselves on what our child or children should be learning, for not partnering with the teachers and the school, for accepting mediocrity and, yes, for failing our children.

If the school does not have enough resources or is not providing you (the parent) with resources or tools to help your child succeed, don’t just get mad and complain. You have the power to make a difference! Do research, talk to the teacher, ask another parent for some help, attend community meetings, school board meetings, join Stand for Children Indiana. Do whatever you have to do to ensure your child receives a quality education which will increase his/her quality of life. As a parent advocate, I support Dr. Ferebee’s implementation of innovative and transformation schools and his moves toward empowering school leaders to make strategic decisions in the best interest of their schools and the children.

So, why are WE, as a community, not receptive to the ideas Dr. Ferebee is trying to implement? The answer is simple: We are okay with the status quo and mediocrity of some IPS schools.

I think we can do better. And I won’t be satisfied with the status quo any longer. You shouldn’t be either.

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