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A Mother Is Witness to the Failing Schools Crisis in Her Backyard

My husband and I are raising two little girls in Brooklyn, and we have seen the failing schools crisis right in our own backyard.

Before Ella, our oldest, started second grade at Success Academy Williamsburg, we sent her to a local district school for pre-k and kindergarten. The bar was set so low for the children that I couldn’t tell if she was learning or not. At one point, Ella had a behavior issue and her teacher did not approach me for three months.

The parent coordinator never returned calls or emails. At the first PTA meeting I went to, parents raised an issue and the principal responded, “I can’t help you with that.” I was so discouraged by that meeting that I never went back.

Parents deserve answers and open communication, but at that school, all the parents did was fund-raise. That was just not me – and I wasn’t alone.

In fact, if Ella had not won the lottery at Success Academy, my husband and I would have left the city. We loved living in New York, but we went so far as to put in a bid on a house in the suburbs because we didn’t want our girls to miss out on a good education.

I know most parents feel exactly the same way, but many families do not have the luxury of moving out of town. They need good district schools and good charter schools right in their own backyards, so their children can get an excellent education right in their neighborhoods, just like my Ella and my younger daughter Sylvia.

It took Ella three months to catch up to the rest of the first-graders at Success Academy, but now both she and Sylvia, who is in kindergarten, are thriving.

Written by Maria Gargano March 10, 2015

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