Demand your seat at the table

September 21, 2023 | Sharon Sedlar

Through the years I, like many other parents, have volunteered; bake sales, team t-shirts and away game meals, fundraisers, banquets – the list goes on and on. Parents are always willing to do what they can because our children mean the world to us, and we want to help them achieve their full potential.

As you may already know from my family’s story, our advocacy in education started with a simple letter-writing campaign. I was concerned about my child’s education and pleaded with a few legislators to listen (okay – it was more like 60-70 legislators, but who’s counting).  I told the story of my child, how she came to attend cyber charter school, and how it completely changed her life.

Families should be able to openly choose an education environment that best suits their child.  Currently, much of this “choice” is based on the family’s ability to afford to live in a district with “good schools”, to pay tuition to a private school, or to stay home with their child during the day.

But what about:

  • The family who doesn’t have the finances to move every time they need a different option?
  • The family that lives in a “good” school district in terms of PSSA scores, but the environment, programming, or curriculum isn’t suitable?
  • Situations where school officials refuse to collaborate with parents, adhere to an IEP, or address bullying?
  • The family that wants to stay in their community due to family or work responsibilities?
  • Students forced to attend schools in dangerous locales or deficient buildings?

This discussion goes beyond one education model versus the other, or one family’s needs in contrast to another – it is about the family, and their knowledge and insight about that child.  Those who live with these children know what their children need; they know their cues, mannerisms, and coping mechanisms.

No matter what the education model or issue, parents and direct caregivers deserve a seat at the table; but we all know that seats at these tables sadly aren’t just typically “given” – they may need to be taken.  We need to rise to, and overcome, that challenge.

We are calling you to the table. The table where we listen and learn from others’ stories, experiences, and perspectives; where we make our voices heard, where we talk about solutions. The table from which we make others take notice and truly listen, in a united voice and overwhelming numbers, resulting in a better world for our children.

Join us, grow with us, share with others, and demand better for kids!

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