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When the phone rang, he knew even before looking at the number who it was. Mr. Estero again. Th e man had promised to alert him as to what had transpired every hour on the hour and true to his word, here was another call. "Hello." "Hello Commissioner. It's Alberto Estero." "Yes Mr. Estero. How are you?" "Well, I'm still waiting. I have not heard from the school district yet.

No one seems to answer the phone there. I keep leaving messages but no one seems to be there."

"Well, Mr. Estero, I'll call down again. But I know they are swamped with parents signing up for schools."

"Should I go down there and talk to them in person?"

"Why don't you wait and see if they call you today. I was told they would get back to you during the day. I'll call down there again and let them know that you are still waiting."

"Thank you commissioner."

"Not a problem Sir. Good luck."


Mr. Estero was a single parent who was concerned about where his child was going to school. He had examined the school that the district wanted his child to attend, reviewed the school's report card and finding a pattern of disturbing low standardized test scores, refused to send his child there.

The district had taken the position that they were sending his daughter to her neighborhood school. But Mr. Estero was not satisfied. He didn't think that the district should force him to send his child to a low performing school. So he had called a school board commissioner for help. He, as a concerned parent had done his homework. He had checked into the school the district wanted to send his child to and refused to do it. Unlike so many other parents, he hadn't taken the school's performance for granted. He believed that if the students in the school as a whole were not doing well already, sending his daughter there would only cause his daughter to not do well. He wanted more for his child and was willing and determined to fight for it. He worked full time but was prepared to leave his job to battle to get her into the best possible school because he understood that you only get one opportunity to give your child a good education. And in this country, a good education is the most important predictor of your child's future success. So he was prepared to fight and fight hard for that future. So many parents just view school as something akin to a babysitting service. They drop the kids off and don't think about them until 3:00pm or when the after school programs are over. They don't see good schools as an important investment. They love their children but don't put the time in to ensure that they get the best educationally. Consequently their children don't. This group of parents does not realize that the district's obligations extend beyond just finding a school for the child. They are obligated to provide a thorough and efficient education. But you, as a parent, must fight and work hard to get it. You must make your child work hard in school and the school district work harder to provide that excellent education opportunity. Mr. Estero fought for his child's education and consequently received his phone call. He got his child into the school he wanted. He made his investment of time and effort in his child's future and already it was paying off . His was a powerful but sadly uncommon lesson about being an education consumer in the urban blackboard.