Charter School Parent to School Board: ‘Please Understand My Choice’

Contributed by Stem Prep parent Mara Rivera as read at the June 13, 2017 school board meeting. Because five of nine board members were not attendance, the parents featured in this series expressed grave concern about the cold shoulder extended to charter schools and their families at board meetings. They have a voice, please listen. 

Buenas tardes señores de la junta directiva. Mi nombre es Mara Rivera. Soy madre de 5 niños. Tengo uno en Stem Prep, otro en Stem High y dos en Glengary Elementary. Fui uno de los padres que firmo la carta a favor de las escuelas chárter.
Good afternoon members of the board. My name is Mara Rivera. I am the mother of five children. I have one child at Stem Prep, another at Stem High and two at Glengary Elementary. I was one of the parents that signed the letter in support of charter schools.
Tuve un hijo en una de las escuelas públicas de Nashville y no fue una experiencia que como padre quería para mi hijo. Por esta razón, empecé a buscar información de las escuelas magnet y chárter para el resto de mis otros hijos.
One of my children went to a district school, and as a parent, it was not the experience I wanted for my child. For this reason, I started looking for information about magnet and charter schools for the rest of my children.
El primer año que mi hijo fue aceptado en Stem Prep, di gracias a dios por la oportunidad de que mi hijo tuviera esa oportunidad. Los maestros se dedican a que cada alumno supera sus metas en cada materia. Siempre están disponibles a ayudarlos educativas y emocionalmente a cada uno.
The year my son was accepted into Stem Prep, I thanked God for this opportunity for my son. At Stem Prep, the teachers are dedicated to ensuring each student surpasses their goals in each subject. The teachers are always available to help students with their education and emotionally.
En la escuela Stem Prep y high school, los maestros enseñan nuestros hijos que con esfuerzos y sacrificios pueden llegar a alcanzar todos sus sueños. Como madre de 5 hijos mi deseo es que los que están en Glengary Elementary en el futuro puedan estudiar en Stem Prep.
At Stem Prep and Stem High School, the teachers teach our children that with effort and sacrifice, they can reach all of their dreams. As a mother of five children, my wish is that my children at Glengary Elementary can attend Stem Prep in the future.
Gracias por darme la oportunidad de contar mi historia a ustedes. Gracias Señora Mary Pierce por apoyar a todos los padres con la resolución.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell you my story. Thank to Ms. Mary Pierce for supporting all parents with her resolution.

Hundreds of Nashville Charter School Parents Say ‘Our Children Matter, Too!’

In an editorial in the Tennessean, charter school parents from across the city delivered the statement of all statements by brilliantly banding together in a demonstration of resistance. About the same time Dr. Joseph was preparing for his inaugural State of Schools speech, the Tennessean was preparing to roll out a list of 374 names of charter school parents demanding respect from the school board and school administration.

Contrary to the picture some board members paint, we are intelligent, engaged, determined parents who want a better life for our children. All parents want what is best for their children, and we are no different. Our children are thriving. They are working hard and learning every day. They are encouraged at school to dream big, and they are receiving the education they need to reach those dreams.

Charter schools have been part of Nashville’s education tapestry for more than a decade, but the bitterness and brutal language surrounding the charter narrative only gets worse. So, for these parents to enter the bloody arena, take a stand, and sign their name is nothing short of courageous.

I can’t adequately express how proud I am of these parents for taking a public stand for their children, themselves, and the schools they have chosen. I’ve heard from too many parents who feel threatened by the officials elected to work on our behalf and it saddens me. Even sadder, many of them are not on the list. So please understand, 374 is a lot of parents, but there are others. And if you’re the kind to dismiss parent voices or comfortable with the idea of parents bullied into silence, you are a problem and should be removed.

Read this editorial and check out the names!