Why turn down a $25 million school donation when Danbury students need so much help?
I have lived in Danbury for two years and am excited to raise my kids here. My family moved here from the Bronx in New York City because we needed a better life where the schools are in touch with students and we don’t have to pay as much in taxes. My family has loved living in Danbury and my children have loved their teachers.
As more families like mine have moved to Danbury, our schools have gotten more crowded and teachers haven’t been able to pay as much attention to individual students. Then COVID-19 came and our schools couldn’t host in-person classes for months and many families like mine in Danbury, who cannot afford tutors or additional educational opportunities, felt their children slip behind in schools.
Every day our families fall further behind, so our schools have to work twice as hard to catch them up. As a member of Latinos for Education Advocacy in Danbury and a Board Member of Community Action Agency of Western Connecticut, I have been desperately working with Danbury leaders to find ways to make sure our students still graduate with the education they need. Then I received a piece of mail about an offer from a Danbury donor to offer a new school building for Danbury Prospect.
My friends and I grew so excited that our children could have a new school to call their home and that Danbury Prospect would bring years of experience nurturing Latino children to our community. But, that’s when we also discovered that Danbury’s delegation was refusing to open Danbury Prospect and refuse to give it operating dollars because they don’t like that it’s a charter school. It is absurd that there is political opposition to a school that families in Danbury need. How could legislators shun an investment in a new, desperately needed public school just because of their ideology?
Our community is suffering from coronavirus. Our schools are failing to teach our brilliant young boys and girls. Our children are at greater risk of falling behind because of COVID-19 school closures. But, we can solve these problems if Danbury accepts this school donation and Danbury legislators work with Danbury’s parents. In what world would legislators put their ideology over helping their constituents’ children? Every other solution will merely kick the can down the road and delay our students’ access to a better education that will help us emerge from COVID stronger than before.
Gov. Ned Lamont was elected because of his strong support from Connecticut’s Black and Latino communities. We elected the governor because we believed in his vision and because we trusted him to listen to our concerns, and not just when they are politically expedient. We need Governor Lamont to work for all communities, support Danbury Prospect and give Danbury families a new school to call their own.
Doralis Florentino of Danbury is a board member on the Community Action Agency of Western Connecticut.
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