As discussed previously, parents are willing to face jail time and heavy fines for attempting to get their children a quality education. This time we will discuss a teen who took it upon himself to overcome the education bureaucracy trying to trap him in a failing school.
South Carolina schools ranks at the bottom for student SAT scores. It's graduation rate ranks 48th nationally and hundreds of thousands of students are trapped in failing schools. Rontrell Matthews, 16, decided he wanted a better education for himself instead of staying trapped in his failing school. He was so determined to get a better education that he got job a job making sandwiches at Subway. When he got his first paycheck of $32.86, he went straight to Capers Preparatory Christian Academy and handed the check to them and told them he wanted to attend their school. The school accepted Rontrell and he excelled in his new school.
The school itself was started by a former public school teacher, Faye Brown, to provide low-income families, mostly African American, access to a quality education instead of being trapped in failing public schools. Mrs. Brown even dipped into her own retirement savings to help keep the school running. After the original story about Rontrell broke, donations poured in helping to stabilize the school giving many more children access to a quality education.
In South Carolina, as well as here in Illinois and across the country, we continue to trap students, especially those of color in failing public schools. In Chicago, there are thousands of students trapped in failing schools. Across Illinois 6 in 10 elementary and middle schools have failed to ensure their students are proficient in math and reading. Yet, the state, with the aid of the education bureaucracy and powerful teachers unions, continues to perpetuate the zip code education that traps the low income students in failing schools.
Zip-Code education that traps students in failing schools is discriminatory based on the socio-economic status of the parents. The question is when are more parents, teachers, citizens and legislators going to stand up to the big money donors of the education bureaucracy and say "Enough! We will no longer tolerate zip-code education discrimination."
The way to end zip-code education discrimination is to empower the parents to choose the school that will educate their child the best. In doing so, the money will then follow the child to that school. A simple phrase to explain this concept is "Fund the Child, Not the Beaucracy." It is time to demand choice now.
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