Some time away from my city for a couple of days has given me space to process the comments and opinions of my fellow citizens and leaders as they wrestle with our Mayor’s proposal for the meals tax increase. Unfortunately, many of those comments and options are full of the same narrow views of our children and education that caused the mess we are in today. My support for this tax increase is simple — it is one step in the right direction.
It is not the solution that will bring justice and equity to our city’s education system. It is not the total revenue we need to build better schools and provide the support and resources our teachers need. It does not provide a pathway for students that have experienced trauma at home and in their neighborhoods to the specialized education they need. It does not address our policies on discipline. It does not help our parents engage better and understand their role in their child’s education. It does not address the inefficiencies and mismanagement across city departments, school board, and school administrations.
But it is a step.
We need revenue to help solve these problems and we can’t stand still and stand against part of a solution when we have so far to go. I hope tonight’s conversation at City Hall on ORD. 2018–017 will help us see the opportunity to do something for our children and their education.
Yes — our children.
This is a responsibility for ALL of us who live and work in Richmond. All of the children in Richmond, regardless of their address, have a right to the same educational opportunities and resources. And that belief must drive us as we add cents to our bills when we are enjoying the amazing food in our city. And that belief must drive us as we keep interceding for our children and teachers to make our schools better and our city better.
Todd B. Waldo is an engineer, artist and community advocate serving the Richmond community. www.toddbwaldo.com