Originally published by Querida Walker, a Phoenix mother, on May 14, 2021 in the Arizona Capitol Times.
As a widow with children who attend public school, I know first-hand how difficult it is to physically get your child to a quality public school. I have five boys, four of them at different grade levels and schools. It is impossible to get them to their destinations when two have school at the same time. This is a reality for many parents.
Our current public education transportation system was created during an era where the majority of students attended their neighborhood school. Luckily, thanks to open enrollment and a robust charter school system, parents are making the wise choice to leave failing public schools in order to give their child access to a great education. That is what I have done. It hasn’t been easy, but my kids deserve a chance to reach their full potential.
I am disappointed in the opposition by so-called education advocates and the egregious rhetoric from people who do not understand the real challenges public school parents are facing. I testified recently at the Arizona Legislature, explaining why the current transportation model does not work for all families and why I am excited about the proposed modernization bill. But rather than learn more about how the system is failing many families and discuss ways to pilot new programs and solutions, myself and others were attacked – for sharing our story – by individuals and policymakers who are content with maintaining the status quo and keeping kids trapped in failing schools.