Goodbye summer, I hate to see you go. I wasn’t ready for the Autumn winds to blow…
Today, children across Metro Atlanta go back to school. Among those children will be my oldest daughter (Riley), attending public school as a kindergartener, and my youngest daughter (Olivia) attending private pre-k at the same school that Riley attended. What does the future hold for them? Will they enter classrooms more concerned about teaching to the person vs teaching to the test? Will they encounter opportunities to fully explore their passions as little people, and develop both cognitive and executive functioning skills? For my oldest, entering public school for the first time, will her love for learning grow given the unique environment we choose for her? What kind of education will they be getting, really, and how do I know it’s good? These and many more are questions that have had us thinking as parents getting ready for school to start.
Last night I’ve never seen both of them so excited. For bedtime, Riley choose the book Pete the Cat: Rockin’ in My School Shoes, kick starting our conversation about what school would be like tomorrow. Both gave an honorable mention for fun days at school in their bedtime prayers. Afterwards, literally, I had to go in their rooms and tell them to stop talking to each other (or themselves) several times. In fact, all of the past 2 weeks as we’ve begun preparing for school both of them were ecstatic to meet their new teachers, buy new school supplies, and get school clothes. For Olivia, this is her first time attending school since she’s been at home with grandma the first 3 years of her life. For Riles, this is her first time in a new school, a public charter school in the school district where I work. For their mother and I, it’s been a past 2 weeks of up and down emotions. First of all, can we all agree that summer break is too short? I mean, it seemed as if we blinked and it was over. Something tells me that this will be a reoccuring theme as parents, the beginning of them getting older.
A few weeks ago we hosted a group of families for an educational conversation, and one of the key topics was, how do we find and leverage our voices as parents in the broader educational debate? I believe it starts with asking the right questions. And so, while we don’t have any answers yet to the questions we’re asking, at least we’re asking them and thinking about their implications.
And so now, before I begin what I assume will be a big day, I’m also reminded of the advantages + privileges my daughters are afforded given their parents class status. We’ve had access to information and resources and the power to choose for our girls, in ways that many of the parents I serve everyday don’t have. It’s the reason why I work to bring equity to our educational system, one school at a time. It’s one of the things that gets me up each morning, leveling the playing field through parent and family leadership development. It’s why everyday before I drop my daughter off at school we talk about what it means to be a good leader.
And now it’s time for the day to begin. God, grant me the patience to keep my purpose in perspective today, the wisdom and courage to make good choices, and finally the stamina to make it through to the end of the week while making an intentional mark on both my family and others.