I am a fifth-generation Washingtonian and I come from a long line of educators, so education has been highly valued in my family for generations. We were taught that a fine education could take you anywhere you wanted to go in life, and that no one could ever take it away. So when our son was born, giving him a quality education was high on our priority list. We were living in Los Angeles, where there was very limited school choice, and the neighborhood schools were spotty. From a distance, we observed and admired the charter school movement that was thriving in Washington. I spoke to friends whose children were attending DC charter schools. Each school had its own dynamic curriculum, philosophy, educational values and goals for its students. I was intrigued. We decided to move back to Washington for a number of reasons, and the changing educational landscape was definitely one of them. The charter school movement in DC was, and still is, leading the nation.
When it was time for our son to go to school, we knew that we wanted him to attend a charter school. We did our research, comparing test scores, curricula, governance, philosophies, and school cultures. We put his name in the lottery and got a spot at Capital City. He spent six terrific years there, followed by his younger sister (thanks to sibling preference), who is currently in the 3rd grade. Because he loves the sciences, we moved our son to BASIS DC for 5th grade. He is now in 7th grade, and still loves what he is learning. School choice has made it possible for us to give our children the quality education that we sought.
When we parents talk, we talk about our children. And when we talk about our children, we inevitably talk about their education. These sideline conversations are very meaningful to me and I look forward to catching up with the other parents and hearing about the educational development of their children, the paths they take and the choices they are making.
We are the third side of the triangle of education – the child, the school, and the parents. Our voice is so important to the triangle’s success. However, there was no one place for parents to go to talk about their issues, gather information, and advocate for their children. PAVE now fills this void. When I heard about PAVE, I was so thrilled to learn that someone was starting an organization for charter school parents. My fellow PAVE Board members are charismatic, strong, smart and dedicated parents. Serving with them has been wonderful. I hope that PAVE will serve as a model for parent organizations in other charter school cities, and keep shedding light on our important role in education.”
By Cecily Miles Slater, Fifth-Generation Washingtonian and PAVE Board Member