Op-Ed: Bronx Families Deserve More Choice in Schools

Bronx Families Deserve More Choice in Schools

By Rossileny Linarez and Shalamar & Kashay Ward


Like a lot of parents in the Bronx, we worry about the quality of the schools in our neighborhoods and we wish we had better choices in where to send our kids to school. We believe in the value of education and we understand how important it is for our kids to get a solid foundation starting an early age. That’s why it’s so frustrating to watch our children struggle in chronically failing schools. Ours kids work so hard, but the system is letting them down. That’s why the system needs to change. We need more choice, including more charter schools, in the Bronx.



My daughter is in the third grade at P.S. 11. We moved here from the Dominican Republic two years ago and I have been disappointed in the quality of my daughter’s school. Last year, her second grade teacher didn’t even correct her homework or offer any feedback about how she was doing. This year, her teacher corrected the homework to start the year but that has stopped now. There’s no way of knowing if the teachers are even checking the work. My daughter will be taking her first state tests this April, and I have no idea if her teacher is preparing her. Her teacher says she will, but I don’t have anything to base that on. I don’t want to send her back to P.S. 11 next year but I don’t know what else to do. I am desperate for a better option and I am losing hope.


Shalamar and Kashay:

We have a 9-year old daughter in fourth grade and two 6-year olds, a boy and a girl, in first grade at P.S. 57. We would do anything to be able to relocate our children to another school, but we are stuck right now and we don’t have any other option.


Our first graders are having two completely different experiences. Our 6-year old daughter has a great teacher, and we are so appreciative. My son’s teacher is another story. She lets my son sleep in class and she told us that she only works with students who are “easy to handle.” I’m not sure how many 6-year olds she met before she got this job. We were able to observe my son’s class and saw firsthand that his teacher doesn’t engage the students actively. She splits them up into groups, and most of the time they just play. There is no learning going on. When she does try to teach, she is too rigid and she berated our son for not solving a problem in a specific way. Our daughter is lucky – her teacher is not so fixated on one idea and she engages the kids in a more creative way. We have tried to address our concerns with the principal, but the principal just blamed our son and said he wasn’t behaving. We’re afraid our son isn’t going to pass and no one at his school seems to care.


Our stories are like so many that we hear from other parents in our community. We want what’s best for our kids, but it seems like no one is really listening to our concerns. The public school system in New York City is failing way too many kids, and it’s time for real change. We want the people in charge – the Mayor, the Chancellor, and the politicians in Albany – to hear us loud and clear: our kids deserve to go to quality public schools. We want more choice, we want more public charter schools, and we want real change now.


Shalamar & Kashay Ward and Rossileny Linarez are all parent members of the leading education reform organization StudentsFirstNY



Print Friendly, PDF & Email