My name is Monique Adkins; I am a nursing instructor at Kensington Health Science Academy in there CTE program. I wanted to take the opportunity to share my input, both as a parent and as an educator. I first would like to tell you a little about the students that I teach and encounter on a daily basis. Our students are younger versions of us and if given opportunities, they work hard to excel, and make a big impact for their futures. We are not only teaching them academics. We are also teaching them soft skills: we teach professionalism, how to develop ethical and moral behaviors and transmit those behaviors in their daily lives. We may not have all the resources that we need in the classroom, however what we do have is a group of individuals (teachers), who have given their time and experiences to teach our students. I understand how some may believe that opening and funding a new charter school would be a good thing, but then I have to ask the question, “Good for who?”. The reality is that we educate students who are not candidates for a charter school. As a mother, I know my son pretty well, including his behaviors as well as his ability to progress in school, and I know he would not be selected for a school such as the charter school being proposed. However, I still want him to have the opportunity to be educated and develop skills that will send him out in the world as a productive adult. It is for my son, and children like him, that these opportunities currently exist, and should continue to not only exist but be strengthened in our neighborhood schools.
The funding that may go into opening up new charter schools could be most effectively used in our neighborhood schools. If we do not support and mold the students who needs that extra support, then we are failing them. I have seen students who has struggled to come to school, for whatever reason, however with support and encouragement, these students make a transformation from being that struggling uninvolved student, to the student who is now making the grade, coming to class, and even adjusting their minds to be a better student. I can go on and on about our students because I love these young people, and I am proud of each one of them, however the reality is if we allow schools to hand pick students this will always leave our students out, and the fear is seeing an increase in drop-out rates, depression, violence, or even worse. We are speaking today in support of public schools and adolescents. I strongly stand against opening up a new charter school, where students are hand-picked, leaving students who do not have a chance of being selected behind and struggling. I stand for our children, our schools, and better resources so that we can continue to produce better young adults in our society.