Hello and Good Morning, students, parents, grandparents, constituents of Missouri and all others present:
My name is Christy Moreno and I’m Nina and Emilio’s mom. I’m here with you today because my children are my world and my greatest cause to advocate and fight for. I’ll do everything in my power to ensure that their rights are respected, exercised and met. I’m here with you today, feeling very honored to be in this building, a place that houses the legislative and executive branches of the government of the United States’ state of Missouri, as well as the Missouri General Assembly...a place that symbolizes the American people and our government. I’m here with you today representing my kids, our family, and also respectfully and proudly representing other parents, grandparents, and families who couldn’t be here today; all types of families...immigrant families, families of color, families of diverse backgrounds, heritage and experiences; families of varied incomes, families with children with disabilities, LGBTQ families, multigenerational household families...families whose children attend public charter schools.
We all know there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all education, and charter public schools give parents like me, and like us, the freedom to find a school that fits our children’s needs, regardless of income or zip code. You see, ten years ago our family moved to Kansas City, Missouri. We chose KC because it was a promising place to raise our kids...our family. I knew I needed to find a public school that would welcome them as they are: brown, bilingual, bicultural, bright and beautiful. A school that would help me raise and nurture humans of excellence. So, we chose Crossroads Charter Schools for being schools that focus on building a strong sense of community, schools where my children would be immersed in and interact with a thriving downtown business district. Our schools have nurtured in Nina and Emilio a strong sense of civic engagement and social responsibility. Our schools have also built platforms for students of bicultural and bilingual families, like mine, to develop a strong sense of belonging, empowerment and identity.
Their cultural background, bilingualism, interests and dreams have always been seen, celebrated and cultivated at Crossroads. And I, as a parent, have always felt welcomed, valued and invited to have a seat at the table...a table where the decisions about my children’s education, and therefore their future, are being discussed and made. I believe my children will have better opportunities in life having public school choices in my city. We continue to choose Kansas City because here we feel at home–it is home–it’s the place where we are growing our dreams, the place we are choosing to invest in through our tax contributions and more, through our involvement in our community and the place I happily choose to work in. We love our city for its rich culture and its pride in being a diverse and inclusive place to live in.
But despite having the opportunity to have my kids at Crossroads, what brings me here today is that in Missouri, public schools are supposed to be funded equally, based on a certain number of dollars per student enrolled. This is designed to ensure that schools—and students— all receive an equitable share of the money Missouri spends on K-12 education. But unfortunately, this isn’t working. Not because of any effort to make Missouri’s school funding unfair; the problem is inequitable funding is the result of a glitch in the way schools are funded and it can easily be fixed by the legislature. This issue is significant... More than 25,000 students in Missouri are in schools that don’t receive their fair share of funding. That includes our children, and that’s why we’re here today.
As parents, grandparents and advocates of public charter school students, we aren’t asking for a tax increase. We’re asking for all Missouri’s public schools to be funded fairly. We know our kids aren’t receiving a fair share of resources, and no parent wants their kids to be treated unfairly. The legislature can fix this glitch and we are here to urge them to do so.
School choice is a right I believe I have as a taxpayer, as a parent and as a constituent of Kansas City, Missouri. My children deserve high quality education and have a right to receive the same funding that traditional public school children do. My children are not a zip code, they are the future of the United States of America.