Mr. Steve Schuck: Thank you for your response to my column, "Leveling the playing field?" (DiverseCity, Aug. 2). It is obvious that you were moved with compassion by it. Your inference that our public education system needs a complete overhaul was valid; however, in that development the socio-economic factors that contribute to intersectional poverty of families should not be left out.
For the record, I did feel empowered to "choice" my children into another school, I just did not wait and was not dependent on my local school district's permission or resources, which in hindsight, may have cost me resources that were available to me.
Secondly, when I stated, "we did it until we could not afford it anymore," I was not just speaking of financial resources. My statement encompassed time, poverty and the stigma of being a poor minority kid in a school whose graduating class majority is affluent and white. A voucher doesn't change that.
There is a certain mindset, emotional stamina and toughness a child/family has to have to endure that type of environment. This dynamic inadvertently sends failure messages if you don't look like what the defining model of success in front of you looks like, and yes, there are always exceptions to the rule.
However, a system that primarily fosters "exceptions" to the academic success of minority kids is not good enough. It needs to be a norm everywhere in our overarching school system. Unfortunately, institutional racism is real and effective, and I agree that the public education system needs a complete overhaul starting with what it really means as a society to be diverse, inclusive and power-sharing. In the meantime, or until that change comes, we have children showing up every day in all neighborhoods waiting to be educated.
— Patience Kabwasa, Colorado Springs