Kudos to School District of Lancaster Superintendent Damaris Rau and Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace for making a powerful statement in support of the city school district and calling out the harm caused by the charter school system (“Rallies call for funding boosts,” Dec. 6).
But I think it’s important to consider other threats to our public school system: private “independent” schools, and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit, which allows taxpayer money to go to private schools and literally poaches high-performing children of color from our school district.
Another, more difficult, problem is the complicity of white people in our community for allowing this to happen, by way of white flight to the suburbs (where their children can attend mostly white and better-funded schools), or staying in the city but choosing private schools. These actions uphold a system of white supremacy, end up hurting poor children of color in our community, and “kill” public schools.
When Sorace, during her speech, asked why our school districts lack the resources they need, she might as well have answered “because the children in our school district are primarily poor children of color.”
It’s time that we start paying attention not just to the individual needs of our own children, but to the collective good of all of our children. Until then, I’m afraid that Sorace is right: We’ll just be back here next year, asking for the same old things, and not seeing any changes.