by Jessica Mokhiber
The following is a letter to the editor that was submitted to but not published in the Albany Times Union.
I’m an Albany native, born and raised here, and proud Albany High School graduate. I went through the city school system from K-12. I had some great teachers, and some not great teachers, but my parents were determined to send my two sisters and me to schools that would prepare us for the real world. I’ll never forget them saying, though, that we got out by the skin of our teeth and they wouldn’t send another child to the city schools if they had a fourth. That was in the late '90s and early 2000s.
Things have gotten much worse since then. We're deeply disappointed about the school system and what it has become.
As an adult still living here, I question what I would do if I had children in the Albany City School District.
That question hit home for me recently when my dad called me from his office. He has a colleague, a father, whose daughter is preparing for the start of the school year. She is supposed to attend Hackett Middle School.
He does not want to send his daughter to a school that’s not only failing (and has been for years) but is also dangerous. Can you blame him? I can’t. He is desperate to find out if there’s any room for his daughter in any of the local charter middle schools. If there isn’t, he doesn’t know what he will do.
Two charter middle schools closed earlier this year in Albany, and we can debate whether or not that was the right call – but the fact remains that as another school year starts, there are fewer quality schools for families than there were last year, and it’s their kids who are paying the price.