Yesterday, I spoke in opposition to Senate Resolution 107, which discussed parental rights in education and promoted an unconstitutional education voucher scheme that would take funding away from our public schools. As a parent, I felt a need to speak up.
Parents are frustrated and exhausted after almost two years of a global pandemic. But you know what? Parents are resilient, parents are partnering and communicating with educators about their kids needs more than ever, parents are doing the best they can for their kids, parents want to be told the truth, and want their kids to have the critical thinking skills and appropriately funded public education to get their kids the best future they deserve.
Parents do have a say in the direction of their child’s public education. They elected a local school board to make local decisions. They elected a Board of Education to guide statewide policies to make sure that schools in my neighborhood have the same standards as the schools in yours. And they communicate and partner with teachers on what’s going on in the classroom on a regular basis to ask questions, get clarification, volunteer, serve on the PTA and make suggestions.
I've been listening to my fellow parents, and what I hear is this:
Parents who have left the workforce during the pandemic because of childcare issues or remote learning aren't advocating to run their kids curriculum, they are asking: why can't we have good paying jobs in all our neighborhoods so they can pay for digital devices that work well during virtual learning days, and why can't we make affordable and accessible childcare and pre k for the littlest ones available to every family.
Parents don't want an unconstitutional voucher scheme to take funding away from the public education system that is supposed to give every single one of our kids a chance -- they're more concerned about making sure our kids have the mental health supports in schools they need - the school social workers, counselors and psychologists -- resources that need more investment, not money taken away.
Parents who are essential workers and have had to make sacrifices to serve the rest of us are asking: when are we going to give them hero pay so they can afford to pay the bills for their family. Parents are asking: when are we finally going to enact strong paid sick leave and paid family leave laws.
Parents don't want kids shielded from parts of our history -- they want their kids to learn the kind of critical thinking skills, analysis and problem solving that comes from learning the whole truth about our country's history, including the painful parts of our history, of racism. Parents want opportunity for their children. Parents of color, specifically, want their kids to see themselves reflected in books and lessons so they can aspire to be the leaders they can be. Parents see what's happening in our world and want their kids to have a future where people of different backgrounds might better understand one another's history.
Parents are asking: when will we have flexible work schedules and adequate paid sick leave so they can get their kids from school if aftercare gets canceled or if they need to care for their kids during a quarantine due to a close contact at school or remote learning because the district has used all their snow days.
Instead of feeding on the fears of a small but loud set of people, we should focus on the hopes and aspirations that many parents have for our next generation. Instead of trying to move Michigan backward in time and ignore some pretty important realities, we should work on the issues families are grappling with at the kitchen table or in the school classroom. Let's focus on the things parents, kids and families really need and build a hope for a future full of opportunities for every family, rather than tear down based on fear.
With your help, I will be able to continue to speak up for what parents, children and families actually need. If you are able to make a contribution of $10, $25, or $50 today, it would be so appreciated. <[link removed]>
P.S. We know some of my colleagues will continue to advocate for backward policies that are wrong for Michigan's future. Can you chip in a donation of any size to help ensure we can continue our efforts to advocate for opportunity, equity, access, and justice? <[link removed]>
<[link removed]>DONATE <[link removed]>
<[link removed]> <[link removed]>
www.stephaniechang.com <[link removed]>
Paid for by Stephanie Chang for Senate | P.O. Box 32317 | Detroit, MI 48232
Stephanie Chang for Senate - PO Box 32317, Detroit, MI 48232, United States