School Board Spotlight: Why I’m Running

Enacting change in the education system can begin with the school boards.
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When people ask me why I am running for school board I tell them there are two reasons: First, I want to honor the sacrifice my parents made. Second, I want to help ensure that my grandchildren and future generations get the same great education I had. 

Shortly after Fidel Castro took over Cuba, my parents decided they wanted to immigrate to the U.S. so my brother and I could live freely and build a good life. My mother, brother, and I were allowed to leave but my father had to stay behind because there were too many professionals fleeing Cuba. My father bribed someone to get him into an embassy where he stayed for fifteen months until he got his visa to come and join us. While he was there he had books smuggled in so that he could learn English to practice his profession and earn a living when he got to the U.S. The embassy was overcrowded with men seeking asylum and they often had to sleep in tents set up in the courtyard. In order to study my father took to locking himself up in a closet so that he could have peace and quiet. When he finally came to the U.S. he knew enough English to be able to work and provide a living for us. 

My mother was a teacher in Cuba. She knew no English when we got here. She decided to learn English also. When she completed the first courses she did not receive a passing grade. As a self-respecting teacher she could not allow herself a failing grade, so she took English courses again and again until she finally got a score of 80 on her English test. 

These are the people who told me every day that education was important, that with a good education you can go anywhere and build a life for yourself. As a child I just felt like my parents were pestering me. As an adult, I completely understand what they meant. That is a lesson that is ingrained in my brain. 

Now I have grandchildren and I see that the education system has fallen dramatically. I fear that my grandchildren and future generations will not be able to fulfill their dreams and be self-sufficient. I cannot stand by and see that in just a couple of generations our children are being robbed of their chance at a good future. 

That is why I am running for school board. Noblesville is my community. This is where I can have an impact. I can only hope and pray that there are many others like me who will fight for the children in their communities.

Melba Kiser
Melba Kiser is a school board candidate in northern Indianapolis.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Chalkboard Review team.

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