Updated: Apr 12, 2022
I interviewed a 48-year-old, White cis female living in an urban area in the South. Here was one story she shared with me:
The education system here is really messed up. It's a charter system. It's super-duper inequitable. When I went through the process - my daughter is in kindergarten this year - they make you go through so many hurdles as a parent. There are only 3 or 4 charter schools that are truly above failing grade. They're constantly going out of business. And there are a lot of really rough schools you would not want to send your child, and there's maybe 5 that would be ok. But several are magnet schools you have to test in to, which has its problems. But even after you get your act together and figure out how to sign up for the tests, they have all these mandatory meetings and honestly I felt like I needed a guide to guide me through this. I luckily had a couple other mom friends doing this and I was like, "Wait, what did I miss, what do I need to...?" I'm a college professor who only has to teach two classes each semester. And I went to Yale, I'm a very educated person. And I honestly had a hard time figuring it out. If I'm a single mom working two jobs, fuck this. There is no way. It took so much time. And I only have one kid. If I have multiple kids and if I work multiple jobs, there is no way. This isn't about intelligence this is about minutia and busy work that consciously or unconsciously is structural racism. There aren't enough hours in a day to go through the bullshit it takes to get your child into one of the good schools. If you don't do this, your kid could get placed in a school that's all the way across town from you - and a lot of them don't provide bussing.
I am very aware of my privilege. I'm glad I live in a diverse city. I don't live in a white enclave where I can be in some bubble. It's never a bubble here. I'm a gentrifier. Our neighborhood is a definitely a transitional neighborhood. I feel a lot of guilt. Maybe I can make more of an effort. I have accepted the status quo and haven't really done anything to change it.