Until Next Year, Congressional Black Caucus
Last week, I was given the opportunity to take part in the Congressional Black Caucus. As a parent advocate, I was excited to go on this adventure. If you have never heard of the caucus, it is a huge educational event.
I thought that I would be able to network with other parent advocates, educational leaders and teachers. I was also under the impression that this event would hit topics and discuss issues about our children’s education.
This event was just a show of people who have already made the decision on how our children’s education should go. I felt as though current issues in education were not talked about. When a parent in my group tried to address the panel about those issues, a panel member cut him off and was completely rude and disrespectful.
There were few parents in attendance. The only parents I interacted with were in our group. I didn’t meet any parents outside of them. Which leads me to wonder if parents were reached out to and told what they thought mattered? What needs improvement? What is needed at the schools that their kids attend?
Now let’s talk about some of the teachers. It seemed as though that a good percent of teachers that were in attendance were on payroll for some panelists.
Some politicians were in attendance. We tried to talk to a former mayor of New Orleans. I felt as though we were bothering him. He was really not interested in discussing children. He did let us know that he has visited our school (Andrew H. Wilson) in the past. I invited him to come for a visit to see the great things that are taking place now.
We were asked by a woman at a table giving out information about Hillary Clinton what colleges we attended. I informed her that I never went to college. She was completely shocked that I was a successful parent with no college education, that I was able to help make a difference.
Let me say that college education does not make and or define a person. Yes, it may make some things easier. I am not ashamed of any part of my life. Yes, I’m a single African American mother, but I carry myself with respect.
Hopefully, the Black Caucus next year will be different. I hope they learn from the mistakes that were made this year. It should better reach out to parents and listen to them. Parents know their kids best. The caucus should focus on educational topics more and have educational seminars in bigger halls. Let’s focus on making our kids education the top focus.
I can say that I learned more about the struggles in other cities and states. I thank the caucus for including me among all the wonderful, passionate and caring black individuals from our group.
I challenge elected officials past and present, CEOs and leaders to listen to parents about their struggles, how the system needs to be improved and what resources we need. Elected officials shouldn’t come when you need votes; they should fight for our kids. They are our future lawyers, teachers and presidents.
To my fellow parents: be engaged. Get to know the administration in your child’s school. Join your school parent-teacher organization. Be your child’s voice. Let everyone know they will not have the final say in your child’s future.