Student Voice: What We Need Is A Chance To Succeed
At last week’s rally, we had a great lineup of speakers. We were especially glad to hear directly from students who are the most affected by educational policy. Here is the text and video of the speech given by Miss Emony Calloway, a student who has been shuffled around and experienced great instability due to school closures – both charter and public.
“My name is Emony Calloway and I am a senior at Indy Metropolitan High School. Many of you may be wondering why a charter school student is speaking at a rally for traditional public education. I am here today to share my experience from the schools I was told were bad for me, shut down, and caused me to have to move from school to school in 3 years. As a result, I have attended traditional public schools and charter schools and have found people who cared about my future at both types of schools. I also found that both types of schools can close even after being in a community for decades or a few years.
What I do not understand is that so many people keep telling us that our schools are bad but the common denominator is the students who look like me from my neighborhood that get shuffled around. Are we bad? Are we incapable of learning? Are we the failures? Absolutely not! What we need is a chance to succeed. A place to learn where teachers look and act like they want to be there. A place to grow where our school won’t be abandoned because of the lack of money. We need a school that will be around that is safe and welcoming and ensures that my love of learning is sparked.
Students like me, need the people who make laws about education to respect that my learning experience and culture is not to be played with. In spite of the deliberate instability and under resourcing of the schools I have attended, I am graduating early with honors. None of the school grades could have predicted that success could come from my neighborhood or for that matter from me. But, it did and has for generations in my family and from the families of my friends.
You see, school should a safe haven where there is hope for the future and concern for others through inspired learning. Where my friends who witnessed a shooting, or shot at, or saw a friend die could come to school, cry on a shoulder, and learn to move forward. Schools should be a vital part of the community where the lamp of knowledge shines brightly. Schools should not be businesses that open and close at a whim. Perhaps the most insulting and repulsive thing that has happened in my schools is that people who would never send their children to my school make decisions that cause more harm than good.. Keep our schools open. Keep our schools funded. I had a teacher who said, “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” It is obvious that our State does not care about children but I know a whole lot of teachers who do. It is because of them that the school’s grade does not dictate my future success.”
Thank you, Emony, for your important message and your strong voice!