On Tuesday, Waterbury's Brass City Charter School community came together to urge lawmakers to reject a harmful proposal to cut $11 million in funding to charter schools, a cut that could prevent Brass City and several other charter schools from adding more grades. At the event, we heard powerful testimony from Lisa Gordon-Green, whose son is in the fourth grade at Brass City. We were so impressed, we wanted to share her full statement with you. Check it out!
"My name is Lisa Gordon-Green. I am a nurse by profession, but by far, my most important job is that of being a mother to my children and advocating for them the best I can. I have two children currently in our local public school district and a fourth grade student here at Brass City Charter School. I am here to tell you that the state’s proposed funding cut to public charter schools like BCCS would be detrimental not only to his future, but to the future of our children and society as a whole.
Lisa Gordon-Green speaks at BCCS
My husband and I looked into BCCS because it became increasingly frustrating to see that our children were not being challenged in traditional public schools. The curriculum in our local district schools place a heavy focus on testing and gathering data, but we wanted more for our son. We want him to develop the essential skills needed to be a successful and productive adult and citizen.
In researching BCCS, it was refreshing to know that although they prepared students for those same tests, their curriculum also encompassed learning through experimentation and exploration while embracing reading.
After being on the wait list in 2015 and not getting admitted, we reapplied again in 2016 but were once again wait listed. Finally, one week before the start of the school year, I contacted the school and we received the news that there was a last minute opening and the spot was ours if we still wanted it. I felt this to be divine intervention! I was persistent in pursuing his acceptance into the school because I always believe you should make a valiant effort in whatever it is you seek to accomplish. And having our son get the opportunity to benefit from this type of learning environment was something worth pursuing.
Since being admitted to BCCS, we see a positive change in our son. He has matured greatly. He engages in conversations that shows us how his mind is constantly analyzing various situations and his vocabulary has also grown tremendously. He takes pride in his appearance and in his work. As a matter of fact, the whole student body seems to genuinely take pride in themselves.
The students are always courteous to each other and exude a respectful atmosphere to their peers. As a parent, I find this very refreshing, because the basics of courtesy and respect are essential tools for success in life. This school is fostering great leaders. We as adults can stand to benefit from the example these children are setting.
The prospect that this school would go to grade eight and give our son a stable, solid foundation for high school and beyond appealed to us greatly. But if the state approves this $11 million dollar cut in funding to charter schools, my son and his classmates might not get that chance. It is wrong and unfair that in order for Connecticut to balance its budget, they would consider a harmful budget cut that could potentially take that opportunity away from them.
Sometimes, I think the state only looks at the here and now and not the harm their decisions could ultimately do. Instead of depleting funds to education, why not seek to cut spending in areas that would not affect children and ultimately society?
The fact is that for many families, including my own, a public charter school is the BEST choice for our children. To know that these schools are still making exceptional strides despite already being significantly underfunded as opposed to other public schools was impressive. However, charter schools deserve to be funded fairly and taking even more money away from them is the wrong move.
If the state continues to take away opportunities for children to explore educational opportunities and keep up with the challenges and changes of the world, then our children stand no chance of being successful citizens that contribute to the growth and development of society and the economy.
Education is the LAST place these cuts should be taking place! Although I am new to Brass City Charter School and the public charter school system as a whole, I know first-hand the positive benefits this environment is providing to our child, and I know that I want him to grow with this school.
We have to remember that our children are our future. THEY will be the leaders of tomorrow and having access to the best educational opportunities possible is the only way our children will become the great leaders we need them to be
It’s up to us to protect their education. If we do not, we are limiting their success and ultimately, compromising our own economic growth and stability.
I urge our lawmakers to please REJECT these harmful cuts. Thank you."
You can read NECSN's statement on the proposed cuts by clicking here.