Letter: Involved parents push change

I feel compelled to respond to the letter from Mr. Leslie, from Thibodaux no less, who feels like he has the solution to the education problems in East Baton Rouge Parish. Parents should get involved. Don’t we all wish it were that simple?

We moved to Baton Rouge in 1990 just as our first child was set to enter kindergarten. Wishing to be a full-time mom, we opted for public school while other parents were already bailing in large numbers. I made a commitment then to “work” in the schools so that the public schools could “work” for my family. I’ve done everything Mr. Leslie suggested. I’ve volunteered in the classroom, served with the PTA, attended school functions, chaperoned every field trip, sat on School Improvement Teams and raised money. I was not alone in this. Many wonderful parents were by my side in these efforts.

Our family also has participated in School Redesign and Gifted Programs. Our daughter attended two different elementary schools, even though we never moved, and neither was in our neighborhood. We’ve dealt with bus transfer stations and two middle schools. All told, to get our two children through public school, we’ve attended 5 schools. All of this in an attempt to have public schools work for us.

We’ve had our hopes raised as various superintendents were brought in and out with great plans of improvement and stability but we are worse off today than ever. Our youngest graduated in 2008 and I would not put a child in the system I see today.

So yes, Mr. Leslie, parental involvement is important. It’s important in any education path your family chooses but if that’s what would have fixed the issues in East Baton Rouge Parish believe me when I say the uprising of parents would have accomplished that long ago.

Now these same involved parents have taken their involvement to the next level by seeking an independent school district and when that failed, all the way to incorporation of a new city. All in the name of quality education for children!

I have never been involved in Mardi Gras, except to march along side my child’s band, I don’t fish or hunt, but I have been involved in schools and education in THIS parish as many parents have.

June Gautreau

retired homemaker

Baton Rouge