Letter: What parents want from Detroit school system
Re: Ingrid Jacques’s April 3 column, “Busting the charter school myth”: In this column Jacques inaccurately portrayed our group and our efforts to date. We are puzzled by the basis of Jacques’ conclusions about our group.
We are an informal group of parents working together to visit schools and support each other in choosing an elementary school classroom in Detroit for our young children. We formed because of the overwhelming number of choices in Detroit’s educational system, the difficulty and time to navigate those choices, and our individual lack of knowledge about elementary education. We thought that by working collectively we could help each other overcome these barriers.
While our Facebook group has attracted 300 members, only about 10-15 percent of the group has actively participated in school visits or meetings. We have visited about 20 schools over the last two years, equally distributed between public, private, and charter.
Most of us had not visited an elementary school in 30 years and we have been pleasantly surprised by what we have seen on our school visits and by our welcome, especially at Detroit Public Schools.
Many different factors have stood out to those of us who have visited the schools, but it is a misrepresentation to suggest that school governance is a common thread. At a recent meeting, parents shared that they are still considering public, private and charter schools. If parents want anything, it is high-quality neighborhood schools that can provide a structured and caring environment for their children, regardless of their governance.
We look forward to the day that a support group like ours is not necessary for something that most parents in our region take for granted — sending your child to kindergarten. It is an unfair burden to place on Detroit parents.
Olga Stella, Khalilah Gaston, Dara Hill, Colleen Kinkead, Katie Keenan Ten Brink,
Nicole Rittenour, Callie Sullivan,
Ryan Sullivan, Carla Vecchiola,
co-organizers, The Best Classroom Project