Seretha Edwards

As a parent member of Stand, I took issue with opponents talking down to parents. They say that parents like me are only speaking out because Stand is paying me or coercing me.  This is a clear implication that we as parents can’t think for ourselves. Below is my response to a social media post attacking two IPS parents who spoke in favor of the IPS high school restructuring plan at a school board meeting on August 29.

 The social media post was from an opponent of the plan who wrote: “It should be noted that two of the parents that spoke tonight in favor of closing the high schools are involved with Stand For Children. Stand For Children regularly coaches parents in commenting when they will be favorable for the organization’s agenda.”

Here is an edited version of my response to the post.

So, for the sake of clarity, are opponents suggesting that these parents are not competent enough to have a difference of opinion for what they feel is best for their children? Too dumb to do their own research? To have a genuine concern that their children are being underserved and receiving a subpar education?

Well, what I do know is that it doesn't matter who Stand is, or who they are with. The fact that you undermined these two parents’ capabilities, comprehension, and competency is disturbing enough, which speaks volumes. I know for a fact that all 4 of my children attend an F school and the school has been one for 3 Years. I know for a fact there has been little to no intervention thus far. Why? Because I've been in this fight long before any organization.

What I do know is that children in these failing schools are 2, sometimes 3 grade levels behind, and are continuously promoted only to find out in high school they can't function, read or write age appropriately—setting them up for failure!

I do know that my children had 3 different principals, and 3 different teachers in ONE school year. So, do I pull them out? Send them to a township school, then get pissed when a IPS school closes? Even though that would make me complicit, too, right? Sending my kid to another school even though there is a traditional public neighborhood school within walking distance? Folks would be mad about that, too. So let my kids suffer for the sake of proving a point?

I do know that the children that attend my children’s school can barely read, with more resources needed to help them. Only 31% of the students passed IRead. I do know that classes were split up and mixed in with different grade levels because they couldn't get a sub, so 5th graders were sitting in the back of a classroom with a "busy work" packet and a room full of first graders.

Why do people wait until stuff hits the fan to be mad? Where was all this energy when we sat and watched well over 50% of IPS students attend underperforming "F" rated schools for many, many years. We’ve seen this train wreck coming. Where was the cavalry then?

What we shouldn’t do is take a parent’s genuine concern and discredit them because of who they deal with. I too am a Stand Parent, and that's an insult. Them or no one else could or would tell me what to say or do regarding my children's future. I'd never in life sacrifice my children’s education for any organization, group or school. We are not pawns, or puppets. We are critical and independent thinkers. We have children caught up in a system that we are literally fighting for their lives in.

With all due respect, I don't care about your personal issues with Stand. But I do care that you just attacked these mothers’ credibility. I know both of these women and they are very engaged. Before and after Stand. Their children are testing multiple grades below where they should be and now we are cleaning that mess up, and our children are paying the price for folks that were not doing their jobs. I’m so tired of it all. And now everybody cares.

Parents should uplift each other, not discourage each other. Stand does NOT control us. Stand WILL NEVER have control of my children’s future! Maybe if the school’s had better communication between staff and parents they’d have a better understanding on how to change things. There would be no need for outside organizations to come in and help parents struggling to figure out what to do next.

How about let’s stop waiting for the schools to go to hell and step up beforehand. They don’t get “taken” overnight. Schools don’t just pop up on the radar. These schools’ historical report cards show 2-plus years of failing—critically failing. I don’t agree 100% with any of the ideas from either side. I don’t have the answers, and I’m very concerned and scared for my children’s education options when they get [to high school].

What I do know is, as of right now, I’d never send my child to an IPS high school in its current state. I’d never sacrifice my kid’s futures because I went to that school, or my buddy works there. I’ve already sacrificed 2 years. No more. That’s why I’m supporting this new plan for IPS high schools. And other parents who care about our children’s future should join me in that support.

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