A charter school saved my childBySheryl Browne
No wonder Mayor Bill de Blasio’s presidential campaign didn’t resonate: He took positions on education that were totally out of step with voters like me.
I can’t say I’m surprised. After all, he’s done the same at home in New York City. But it was a bridge too far to witness the mayor cynically stake his bid on how much he hates charter schools.
Message to the mayor: It’s the voters you needed — parents like me — that rely on those schools.
Sure, a charter may not be a good fit for everyone. But one in Harlem, KIPP Infinity MS, gave my daughter, Kiana, a shot when other schools in our neighborhood gave up on her.
Ten years ago, my family was in a tough spot. Kiana could only read at a kindergarten level by fourth grade. She had dyslexia, a learning disability that made keeping up with her English classes nearly impossible.
Because of stress and physical challenges, she missed countless days of school. And while we knew her teachers cared, the school just wasn’t prepared to deal with needs like Kiana’s. The support just wasn’t there.
To understand the extent of the problem, I sat in class with her, and what I saw shocked me. When it came to subjects like math and science, Kiana flourished, but she continued to fall behind in English with no specialized plan to address her challenges.
There were no goals set for my daughter. Her issues were met with a collective shrug from the school — and she fell through the cracks like thousands of other children in failing schools who, quite simply, need more than the school can give.
In desperation, I asked a friend for help, and she asked if I had considered a charter school. We went through the lottery on pins and needles, and the day she got in, I prayed that Kiana’s day had finally come. It had.
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