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Willis’ Blog: Education should be fair at all levels!

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I can remember the good times of school days for my children in Grand Prairie. My daughter and son both attended Jackson middle school and South Grand Prairie high school and on occasion as parents we encountered times with the school board. At that time there was one African American on the school board and he was favorable for listening to my calls and causes.

Now there is talk about of single member districts and to me it is unfortunate that it is only talk. That school district is 86% minority (63% Hispanic, 18% black, 4% Asian) and yet all seven school board members are white men that are elected at large. There are several problems here.

One, just the lack of diversity from school board to students and parents at school. Sensitivity to the needs of the product (students) that an entity is selling is the key to a successful project. How can seven white males understand the needs of an Asian 14 year old and their parents, or 9 year old Hispanic girl and her parents or the parents of 17 year old black male? It’s just makes practical sense to have someone of  a similar background to help make policy.

Two, is there a apathy from the parents of the students to throw their hat in the ring to serve on the school board? Do we not care? What does it take to increase the number of minority parents or citizens have an interest to sacrifice their time at this level of education. We constantly hear the phrase, “they are going to do what they want too anyway”. Well the way to change that , is get involved and have a say at the table where policies are being changed and voted on. Stop sitting in the stands and get in the game.

Finally, the system should be open and equal to all that all can participate and have a fair chance to get at the policy making table of education. We often hear that it is about the kids, but what it looks like it’s about the money. It’s about the next bond package and what contractor gets to play ball . Often times it’s the same contractors that have been used for years and there is lack of minority participation at the subcontractor level and the prime level as well. Let’s all get a chance to play.

Grand Prairie is not the only city dealing with opening their doors of fairness and equal opportunity . A check around the state of Texas will show you that Grand Prairie is representative of a number of school districts around the state that have this “closed” door policy . Education is a key component in the fiber of our mere existence and yet we treat it with such disdain .

We are nearly last in America on cost per student but we have billion dollar bond programs to build facilities and we continue to have a majority school board policy in most of our school districts in Texas that suggest that there is a lack of sensitivity for the communities and students in those school districts that are served.

So while the Texas legislature convenes in Austin, let them know that there should be change and  a sense of urgency for education and make it fair for all.

  • Yvette Richmond

    I enj0yed reading your blog Willis…although I am not a parent myself, I do realize the need for fairness and minority representation on our school boards…our kids are falling by the wayside and we as a community are not stepping up to the plate and speaking up for the rights of our kids.

  • Bartley Ridge

    Super excited to see more of this kind of stuff oinnle.

Average Joe
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