My Child is on the Waiting List, Now What Do I Do? – Part 1

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.

Here are the first ten responses to question one:

  • It is very disheartening that every child does not have equal access to quality education.
  • Frustrated and confused as to what to do; however, my concern is for a grandchild at this point in my life.
  • My daughter is autistic and has an IEP. She is currently in 10th grade and is attending a charter school, but it’s not one of the better ones in the city and definitely not one of my top choices. We live in the northeast. I wanted her to either attend a better charter school close to home or Swenson which I was told was at capacity. I don’t think I was asking too much. The whole public school system is a disgrace. Something drastic needs to be done and quickly to revamp the entire system before more students suffer. If I were able to, I would move to the suburbs so she could get a better education.
  • Worried
  • Very Disappointed. I feel like I’m letting my child down because he deserves so much better, education wise, than what he’s receiving
  • It’s sad to me cause I want the best.
  • I feel horrible.
  • I feel it’s unfair.
  • Very sad.
  • I wish I could move out of Philadelphia so my children could go to a better school. Unfortunately, I can’t afford it. I’ve been on a waiting list for six years at one school. I’m trying to find time to do all the paperwork; it is extremely hard when you work full time. So I supplement my children’s education at home because the public school they attend is rated 3 out of 10 on the city scale.

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.

Check back in on Wednesday when we will see what Black families will do if their children don’t get accepted to their top district or charter choices.

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