Heartwarming Story in Fort Wayne IN Shows How One Parent Can Make a Difference
Jamie Duffy’s Fort Wayne Journal Gazette story on parent Diane Gibson illustrates how one parent can make a difference in the ethos of an entire school district and how one set of parents can help their children succeed in public schools no matter what their racial and socio-economic demographics. A former homeschool parent, Ms. Gibson made a major shift in her thinking about public schools and about her community. Mr. Duffy writes:
“We were always anti-public school,” said Gibson who went to schools in the New Haven attendance area and graduated from New Haven High School. Her husband, Tom, attended St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic school before graduating from Snider High School.
But then something changed.
“I really feel like God had other plans for us,” Gibson said. “(We really felt) to stay in the community, we needed to be fully into it and, for us, that was to put our kids in the school here.”
That also meant as a white family with children attending Southwick Elementary School, Prince Chapman and Harding Jr.-Sr. High School, they were in the minority.
“We were very much in the minority. The number I remember was 9 percent white,” Gibson said. “For us, we really loved that, being a minority. We really looked at that more as a great opportunity for our kids,” and as a benefit “where they are exposed to a lot of different cultures.” The community is black and increasingly Burmese.
Huzzahs to the Gibson family for acting on their values and huzzahs to the Journal Gazette for profiling this family. If we want public education to be seen as a means of providing equal opportunity for all children we need to show families like the Gibsons that their children will experience success even if they are in the minority and seeing their minority status as “…a great opportunity for our kids”. For decades I’ve read stories about white flight and the unwillingness of whites to reside in neighborhoods where their children might be enrolled in schools where they would find themselves in the minority. If we read more success stories like these we might have less white flight and re-integrated schools.