Austin Rally

While many citizens are only able to hear or read about rallies and protests that go on in our communities, students and parents from East Grand Preparatory were able to experience a charter school support rally recently. On April 26th, 2017, a group of 25 students and 20 parents from East Grand were fortunate enough to be able to attend the Texas Public Charter Schools Capitol Rally in Austin to support equal federal funding for charter schools.

 

According to the 2015- 2016 TEA Final Summary of Finance Data, charter schools receive an estimated $10,000 less per day for the same amount of student attendance than public school districts do. The rally on April 26th was in support of equal funding for all schools, regardless of their status as a public or charter school. The students and parents that attended the rally were able to hear from other adults who were either alumni or positively affected by a charter school in their area. Students heard that because they attend a charter school, they have a greater chance of attaining a high school diploma and continuing on to even higher education. This fact really hit home for a group of 8 seventh-graders that attended the rally. During the rally, the students were chanting, “More money, No problems!” signifying that they believe charter schools should receive equal funding from the government. One specific seventh grader, Xitlali E., spoke about the rally afterwards, saying “It’s not fair that we don’t get as much money- who do they expect to pay for all the things we need?”

 

In addition to attending the rally, our students and parents experienced quite a few once-in-a-lifetime educational opportunities such as meeting a Texas State Representative, seeing the office and speaking to a current Texas Senator’s office staff, and listening to the proceedings and debates happening on the Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives floor. Students learned a bit about the process that is required for a bill to be passed in the Senate and listened to a debate discussing the detaining of potential illegal immigrants without just cause. Many students were captivated by this discussion given the fact that most of their parents, grandparents, or extended family were once immigrants to this country. Seventh-grader Daniela T. spoke about the debate: “The part I remember the most [about the field trip] was watching the debate [between the Senators] because they were arguing about how police shouldn’t hold immigrants in jail because that’s not their job.”

 

Overall, the field trip to Austin was a great educational experience for the students, parents, and teachers alike. We were proud to support the Texas Charter Schools Association in marching and listening to the many people who have been positively affected by charter schools. It is our hope that we are now one step closer to receiving equal funding for charter schools across Texas because, as seventh-grader Mary R. said, “I think charter schools should get the same amount [of funding] as public schools because we are equal. There’s no difference between charter schools and public schools.  Charter Schools ARE Public schools!  We are all equal!” 

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