April 09, 2014 13:39 Age: 4 yrs

AF Parents Inspired at BAEO Symposium

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Several Achievement First parents attended the 2014 Black Alliance for Education Options Symposium in New Orleans. The symposium is designed to inform, inspire and empower African-American parents, educators, elected officials, clergy and emerging leaders about high-quality educational options for low-income and working-class African-American families. Below are excerpts from our parents’ reflections about their experience.

Amanda: It was empowering to spend two days discussing issues surrounding education for black children in this country. The opportunity to be in a room filled with people who have one main goal in common—the advancement of our children—was so inspiring to me. The energy was electrifying and contagious.

It made me realize that we as parents must be involved in our children's education at all costs. We must have a seat at the table, be involved in the decision-making process and ensure that we are developing the whole child. Highly motivated parents, staff and students are the key to the success of our schools, and we all must do everything in our power to make this a top priority.


Yaneli:  I feel proud and confident about the knowledge that I have gathered because it will give me the power to develop an action plan for supporting advocacy in my home community with the Achievement First Providence Mayoral Academy team. The most powerful words that Dr. Howard Fuller said to me were, “We the parents are our children’s voice!”

There are so many children in our community, neighborhoods and throughout our state who are slipping through the cracks of the public school system. Sadly, many people think that, because of our low-income status, this is the best and only option that our children have. Our children are suffering because of what we are not doing. This must change.

Children are the future in our communities. Public charter schools give children who struggle in the traditional public school system the chance to flourish and learn. As a member of my community and as one of the founding parents of Achievement First Providence Mayoral Academy, I want to help in reforming the public education system by getting involved and learning about the education reform work in Rhode Island. I want to have a voice in helping our children, and I want to be an advocate to encourage the millions of Hispanic parents that don’t know they have a choice with their children’s education. I want parents to learn how powerful our kids will be with the knowledge and discipline that they are obtaining in the public charter system. We need to become a united voice for school choice.


Nataki: I left the symposium feeling highly motivated to continue to advocate for our kids. We owe it to our kids to make the communities that they live in better, safer and free of barriers to high-quality schools. We must not settle for mediocrity.

The symposium made me feel even more unapologetic about who I am and what I stand for. Access to a high-quality education is a right that every child should and must have. Parents deserve to have options. Our communities need better schools with qualified teachers. Our kids and teachers need to be held to high standards. One of the strongest points that I took away from BAEO is that our kids are too intelligent and too capable to allow schools not to educate them. We owe it to them to prepare them not only to attend, but to actually graduate from college. I also believe that we cannot stop at college. They need to be respectful citizens, be internationally competitive and be career-ready. I look forward to continuing to work with our schools, elected officials and community members to assist our kids in climbing the mountain through college.

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