My Child is on the Waiting List, Now What Do I Do? – Part 2

During the first week of February, many Philadelphia families received notice that their top school choice placed their children on the waiting list. Some families received waiting list notifications from their second, third, and even fourth options; this is an all too common occurrence in Philly, as there simply aren’t enough high-quality schools to meet parent demand. However, the inevitability of this moment can mask the real pain this school shortage has on black families.

For this reason, we surveyed black families across Philadelphia to better understand how getting on a waiting list impacts them. We asked them three simple questions:

  1. How do you feel knowing that you will not get to send your child to the school you wanted them to attend?
  2. What will you do if your child doesn’t get accepted to any of your top district or charter choices?
  3. What are you willing to do to fight for your child’s right to a high-quality education?

Over the next two weeks, we will release ten responses to each of these survey questions. Our hope is to begin a dialogue across Philadelphia about the need to open more high-quality schools to serve black families and to prioritize the needs of our community.

Series Links:
Part – 1

On Monday parents shared their frustration, worry, and disappointment with the Philadelphia education system that lacks sufficient seats in high-quality schools. Today, those same parents will share their backup plans and next steps in their journey for their children’s education.

Here are the first ten responses from question two:

  • I will either homeschool, or my husband and myself will work more hours to help pay for private school.
  • Try to afford an independent school.
  • My daughter will have to stay at the charter school that she is currently attending. I have applied again this year and have not heard a word from any schools.
  • Be very upset! I can’t afford this parochial school anymore. I’m going broke trying to give my kids a better future!
  • I will probably continue what I’m doing now; dropping by his school unexpectedly and being very watchfully, that he doesn’t fall between the cracks.
  • I’ll have to keep looking and applying myself.
  • My child is currently in Catholic school which cost me $5,000.00 a year.
  • Failed to get into charter school, so we sent him to public school with an Autism program.
  • Keep trying.
  • I will be 100% involved in my child’s education so that they can get the best out of whichever school they attend.

Whether it’s struggling to make, ends meet to provide a high-quality education for their children or remaining hyper-vigilant of their experience at schools, not having access to high-quality public schools means unnecessary burdens placed squarely on the shoulders of Black families. These burdens are what make it harder and harder to tolerate a school system that isn’t proactively looking to ease this stress for our families.

For example, two weeks ago the SRC voted against approving Friendship Charter Public School; a high-quality charter school from Washington, DC that has a track record of success with children like ours. Philadelphia families took a Freedom Ride down to Washington DC the week before the SRC vote to see for themselves whether Friendship was a good school or not. Watch the video below to see what they thought about the school.

The SRC is fanning the flames of resistance within the Black community of Philadelphia when they don’t approve great schools like Friendship Charter Public Schools, with a proven track record of success with Black children, and then don’t provide another answer for Black families who find themselves on the wait list. Come back on Friday to see what Black families are prepared to do to fight for their children’s right to a high-quality education.

Please help us amplify the voices of Black families in Philly by sharing this post with anyone you know who is also struggling to find the perfect school for their child. You can also add your voice to the blog by taking the short survey here.

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