There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal. Our children need us to represent them wholeheartedly. We cannot allow any personal aspirations cloud our vision when working towards the benefit of the students. I do not intend to keep silent when it comes to defending the educational rights of those who will one day be our future doctors, lawyers and judges. Even if it means getting on folks nerves repeatedly. The bottom line is this: THE CHILDREN ARE ALL THAT MATTERS TO ME.
And if for no other reason, I will fight for my two children. Regardless of what offices I hold (religious or civic) I will always be a dad. I will always be there for the two little ones who look to me for strength, guidance/direction and support. Yes, I am very passionate about how I raise my children. Yes, I do all I can to ensure they have the best academic experience possible. Why? Because that's what a REAL parent is supposed to do. That also involves advocating and even protesting if it comes down to it.
It is my desire to see more parents attend board meetings and make trips to Trenton & Washington from time to time. I know that allot of parents have lost faith in the Paterson School District. I know this because I hear it all of the time. So, then we need to do something or a series of "something's" to make things better in this district. If more parents would come out to regular meetings and make it clear that they will not allow their children to be mistreated or miseducated any longer, things would begin to change.
As long as the establishment believes that people aren't concerned, those entities will continue to conduct business as usual. Once those entities are confronted by a force of purpose driven parents, who will not be intimidated, redirected or disillusioned by a system that tells them one thing while doing something totally different, those entities will have no other choice but to meet the demands of the parents to the fullest extent. As I've said many times before: PARENTS HAVE THE POWER TO EXACT CHANGE!
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a letter which partially detailed my experience when I visited the U.S. Department of Education. I hadn't mentioned all that I witnessed while there. In the room, there were parent advocates from districts around the nation. Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, Camden, New Orleans and Newark just to name a few. To say those parents were fired up would be an understatement! Those parents didn't make requests but demands. One advocate made it clear that she would ask for nothing.
Once you learn your rights as a parent, you will become unstoppable. Don't be afraid to ask questions about your child's work in school. Make it known that under no uncertain terms are you to left out of the loop when it involves information about how your child is progressing in his or her academic life. Let them know that you want know everything without omission when it comes to your children.
I write like this because I see things from two different angles, first as an active parent and also as school board member. This dual capacity allows me speak strongly on the issues affecting us and it allows me mobilize more parents to join the fight to save our schools. Remember that those who fail to stand (or take a position) for something, will eventually fall for anything. More to come.
All the best,
Corey L. Teague