Let me start by stating the obvious: I don't support POTUS, his administration, or 98.4% of congress. To that end, I've started 2017 with a renewed commitment to political activism at every level. That includes my local community. I've been working hard in ally-ship and activism to fight for public schools and support the rights of all students in our community. I spent the evening of International Woman's Day as part of an extraordinary local demonstration, organized by two amazing women. Read about the event, and see the extraordinary photos in the Chicago Tribune. My job was to deliver a statement to the school board and I want to share my statement with you, Sex Positive Parents, in hopes that you will join with me in activism and ally-ship wherever you make your home.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak. My eldest child attends kindergarten at one of your public schools. Thanks to his wonderful teacher, and all the staff at his school, he reads far beyond his grade level and looks forward to school as the best part of his day.
My family and I moved to this district over three years ago. We came from an area where our neighborhood elementary school scored a three out of ten stars on greatschools.com. In contrast, our school in this district scores seven stars. As a parent, I am extremely grateful that my children attend such a school and I want to extend my sincerest congratulations to the school board for their excellent service.
You preside over a district with a high financial health scores. Your students boast high rates of academic success and student achievement. The facilities are welcoming, safe, and offer students’ access to state of the art technology that, as a former teacher, I especially appreciate.
In the future, our community has to make some tough decisions. We need a new school and we need to find a way to pay for it without putting ourselves at a financial disadvantage. We need to find a way to offer full-day kindergarten, even though the classroom space does not yet exist. We need to maintain the high standards for our excellent student performance in the absence of leadership from both state and federal government. That is why, as an American, as a parent, and as a teacher, I implore the school board to focus on the tasks at hand, not to capitulate to the demands of an extremist community group who offers no insight into these challenges, only interminable outrage and boundless chaos. The concerns of this group notwithstanding, Title IX continues to protect all students against discrimination, including students who are transgender and the Illinois Human Rights Act contains specific protections based on gender identity. In essence, existing state and federal laws mandate that public schools treat all students with dignity and humanity. The current presidential administration cannot, and did not, change that.
I am thankful that my district public schools are strong. They are so strong that they attract people like me, and consequently contribute to community growth in a way that other public institutions cannot. Therefore, as residents, we must protect our public schools. We must protect them, and our communities, because America’s greatest resource is not shale oil or technology companies, but our people and our children.
As a people, our American identity is forged through a shared commitment to the principle that all people are created equal under the law. However, that principle means nothing by itself: it is made manifest only through our actions. Consequently, each American generation quarrels over our principles and how best to carry them out in a complicated world. These quarrels are our American inheritance, for our country exists not as a destination, but as a ceaseless journey, a timeless quest for balanced civil rights. As we move forward in this journey, we must remember that our equality is bound in one another. People do not have to lose their rights in order for others to gain.
We voice our thanks for your faithful service to our community and our children. We voice our support our school boards and our public schools. We support our schools, our communities, and our great country, which has declared that every child has the right to an education. We support you in fulfilling that right, which is the first means that we, as a people, fulfill that sacred American promise to all our children: an equal opportunity.