It’s Black History Month. For the next 28 days (yes, Black History Month just happens to be the shortest month of the year), we will introduce our readers to 28 Black families from around Chicago and the school choices that they are making. Black families are making all kinds of interesting school choices, not because they are ideologues or education policy experts, but because they love their children and care about providing for them the best future possible.
Meet Shadee Language:
What is your dream for your children’s education?
My dream for my children’s education is for them to be able to have every opportunity available to them. Opportunities for enrichment programs. Opportunities for quality/healthy foods. Opportunities that expose them to different cultures. I want them to have an education that supports them and an education system that does not tear down their dream of believing that they can change the world.
Where do you send your child to school and how did you make that choice?
[My daughter] attends Edgar Allen Poe Classical school. A public school on the South Side. It’s a lottery placement school. She had to test into this school, but once she had been accepted we looked at scores, the programs they offer, the safety rating for the school and the distance from our home.
How does your own education experience and background impact the decision you make for your children?
I remember my elementary years very well. I attended a public school on the southside just like my daughter. I went to a magnet school so I also had to test into my elementary school. I remember being on the swim team and having awesome science contest at every grade level and music for all of the students. I also remember being president of my Spanish club. I had a lot of exposure and I knew I wanted a school that will give my daughter a great education with a wide variety of programs.
What is the name of your favorite teacher and why are was s/he your favorite?
Mrs. Elamine! I will never forget her. She was my 6th-grade science teacher and boy did she push us! I remember having to build a living biosphere. We had to choose an animal and build an actual living area. I grew my own grass and kept my own frogs that entire year. I had to keep the climate stable for the frogs. It was just an awesome time. At the time I did not know how privileged I was to even have the opportunity to push myself in that capacity in six grade and to learn about greenhouses and climate management. it was an awesome experience that I’ll never forget.
What is one thing you wish decision makers understood about educating your child and other Black children?
I wish they understood that black children love to learn. That black children love to defy the odds. That black children love to explore. Black children love to create. I wish they understood that black children are more than capable of receiving a high-quality education. In the climate that the world is in today, I wish they understood the importance of a positive educational environment.
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