I am Mandy Jablonski, a parent and public education activist from Lorain County Public Education Defenders. Dennis Kucinich, former Mayor of Cleveland, State Senator and U.S. Congressman, once led a series of town halls across Ohio about the impact of the failed Charter School Industry on Public Education and Ohio Taxpayers. I organized and promoted the Elyria town hall, so people would understand how Statehouse elected officials fund Ohio charter schools by taking much-needed tax dollars away from traditional public school districts.
I’m not going to mince words here. This week was a horrible week for me personally as far as ed activism goes for two different reasons that have to do with putting my whole heart into things that turned out all wrong. Take last night, for example. I won’t list the incredible number of people or groups that I reached out to to get them to the April 27th Charter School Town Hall in Elyria, but please know that I spent many, many hours contacting thousands of people.
Do you know how many public school advocates showed up? I would say about 12. But that did not stop that room from being full of about 200 people. The charter school parents, kids, administrators, and school board members were in the parking lot when my husband Matt and I arrived at the event (40 minutes early), and they were mad already. They just kept pouring in with their charter school t-shirts on.
One guy was especially rude to me, but that is really beside the point, when you hear that they spent almost the entire Q&A session bashing public schools and their teachers. If any of them did actually bring up charter school funding, it was so completely wrong – I suspect it came from the people at the schools they were there to advocate for.
Not ONCE did anyone say anything about shutting down charters, yet charter school advocates had that idea in their heads before they even got there. I saw their posts on Facebook to parents urging them to come to share their stories.
And they did.
And you know what else? Charter advocates, whether it’s the parents or the ones running the schools and/or advocacy groups, are everywhere!
Charter school advocates go to meetings like this. They go to the Statehouse. They testify on everything. They get their stories in the papers often.
The average person without any background knowledge will believe their crap when they read it, because they repeat it over and over and over again!
We have got to show up for things. I know everyone is completely overwhelmed. I am too.
But we cannot sit by and watch as school privatizers slowly take over our public schools and then wonder how the heck it happened.