A ZIP Code Shouldn’t Be Their Destiny
April 21, 2015
When Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for the presidency, suddenly homes and offices around the country were filled with a video of ordinary Americans talking about new beginnings. We tend to think of new beginnings as a positive, but one part of the video struck a chord with me — and it grates against everything we should stand for as the education community.
What struck me most about Hillary’s campaign video was the shot of a woman — a mom — packing up her house so that, as she described, she could move to a district with a better school for her child. What that scene intended to evoke was the familiar challenge so many American parents face; can they afford to live where the schools are “good”?
As a new mom myself, I reflected on this, wrestling with how to interpret this in light of candidate — and grandmother-in-chief — Clinton’
That Hillary made her first event focused on education drew my attention — following up on that video announcement, it underscored that she understands that a better future for all and an improved public education system go hand in hand. We want and need our kids to graduate high school with the life skills they need to succeed. And we believe that a great education is one of the ways we can level the playing field so that a child’s life circumstances don’t determine what they are capable of achieving. How do we do that? By letting our great teachers teach, investing in what works, and creating opportunities to improve our public schools in all corners of this country.
I’m excited to be on this journey with you, Candidate Clinton. I agree, all Americans deserve a fair shot at success. We work hard and yet we are still falling behind, particularly when it comes to our schools that serve high-proportions of students from low-income families but get less of everything we know that matters. We can do better for our children.
Now that I’m a mom, I know that the choices I make for me aren’t just for me; whether it’s what I eat and prepare at home, what learning and growth opportunities I make sure are available for my daughter, or what school option will be best for her when we get to that point, these are decisions for my family and for our collective future. I hope that my choice for president will be one who shares my commitment to my kid and to all kids so that a child’s ZIP Code doesn’t determine whether or not they get a fair shot at life.
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