Parent Voices: Parents Strive for High Quality Education for Students

This opinion-editorial, written by Nashville Rise’s Jay Mazon, was published by The Tennessean on June 16, 2016.

It has been my experience that more times than not zip codes can determine the quality of education that a child receives. Communities throughout Davidson County are going through changes and are experiencing new challenges while still battling with old ones. Families are moving to new neighborhoods, and students are transitioning to new schools. Once in the new schools, parents are finding that quality of education differs across the county. According to the district’s standards, only one in five public schools students in Davidson County attends a high-quality school. Does that surprise you?

Recently formed, parent-led organization Nashville Rise wants to see that change. Its parents are advocating for high-quality education for all students regardless of zip code. Nashville Rise parents are creating a collaborative network to share ideas and push the parent voice to the forefront of the education conversation. Once believing that they were alone in the struggle for great education, parents are finding the community and support that their families need in Nashville Rise. We believe that together we can move the needle.

Solutions to help Nashville schools have been proposed throughout the years, but with their children attending school in the present, parents have a sense of urgency that others seem to be lacking. As said by Nashville Rise parent, Anjanette Moore, “My children do not have five years to wait.” This is the consensus among Nashville Rise parents. We want to know how communities, schools, families and elected officials can work together to ensure that all children receive an equitable education now. Now is the key word. We are not talking about changes that will be implemented in five years. We want to see action, change and progress happen now.

Everyone has different ideas of how to improve education, and many times this can lead to heated discussions. While some may want to shy away from sticky conversations, Nashville Rise welcomes them. We believe that education is a sensitive conversation because the lives and futures of children are at stake. So, we may not agree on every proposal or solution, but let’s put our differences aside and come to the table to talk about how to better serve kids.

As a parent and community member, your voice is important. While most are focused on the November elections, Nashville Rise asks you to consider the August elections. Big decisions for our kids’ schools are made by the Metro School Board. We invite you to learn more about the candidates that are running to represent you and your family. At this school board candidate forum, candidates will answer the tough questions that are on our minds every day. The forum will be held on Thursday, June 23 at TSU’s Avon Williams Campus, 330 10th Avenue North, Nashville. Doors will open at 5:30 pm, and the forum will begin at 6:30 pm. Transportation to the event, light snacks and interpretation services will be available. Learn more about the forum and RSVP at nashvillerise.org.

Click to read “Parents strive for high quality education for students” on The Tennessean‘s website.