Choice. What Choice?

In a school district that has the most charter schools in the nation, and the most children in charter schools, school choice was dealt a severe blow this week when the parents of students attending Cypress Academy were told the school would be closing for good only three days before school ends for the year. Additionally, students and families were informed that the student body would be transferred automatically to Lafayette Extension at Dunbar, a school that would be operated by the Choice Foundation charter schools. If the parents don’t want their children to go to Lafayette Extension, they can enter into the OneApp enrollment process with no priority status. Priority status is usually given to the students of a school that is closing.

Here’s the problem with all of this action which shows blatant disrespect by the school, school board members, and Superintendent. There is no way the officials OPSB didn’t know this was coming and if they didn’t, they should be replaced for insubordination. Since Cypress Academy has on its website some sort of partnership with Choice Foundation, this news can’t be a coincidence. These families and students were part of a deal that obviously didn’t include their input and cowardly strips them of their choice. Not giving these students priority status in the OneApp enrollment process shows the flaws of the OPSB and the OneApp system. It’s only as good as the humans who run it and that’s if those humans believe in humanity. Children’s educational futures are being used as dealmakers or breakers and that’s an unfortunate shame for the future of this city.

Parents and students can only demand that with the OPSB on the cusp of entering into Unification on July 1st, 2018, these type of detrimental events will be a thing of the past. Ensuring that your elected school board officials are working for the people and not for profit is our responsibility because something doesn’t add up here. This is never acceptable. School closings rips the very fabric that students lives are built on. Those five and six year old children will probably never see those educators again. At a time when their development is at the crucial stage of development, they have suffered a heartbreak and severe blow, not to mention the parents who are either boxed in or cornered by the actions of educators, administrators and OPSB officials. Fix it please because the choice isn’t yours; it should be ours.

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