MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There is a lot of talk following Wednesday’s Memphis-Shelby County Schools’ State of the District.
Some are celebrating the slight increase in students’ performance levels, but others say, "how can people celebrate when so many others still need help?"
ABC24 spoke with parents who have boots on the ground advocating for better education.
It's not about what is said, it's about what gets done.
“This is not about a job,” said Dianechia Fields, a Memphis resident. "For me, it's not about income, it's about my child
Fields said she's a mother first.
Having two students attend Memphis-Shelby County Schools, she has seen, first-hand, the successes and challenges. She wants change now.
“It's important that this work is being led by parents, because we are the closest to the problem,” said Fields.
That is why she is Chief of Staff for Memphis Lift, an organization advocating for quality education. It is entirely created and run by parents.
“As we find out things, we pour into our parents because they need to know as well, so they can ensure that all children are receiving the best education,” said Fields. "If they're not getting it, we empower, we engage parents to go out to demand that.
Wednesday, they took their demands straight to the state’s capitol to meet with lawmakers.
“The funding conversation was heavy, and then, just having students have access to clean, safe facilities, whether they're at the traditional public school or they're at a charter public school,” said Fields.
Fields said there are still needs not being met.
When Memphis-Shelby County Schools reported only 11% of students performing at grade level, Fields was outraged.
"It is very disturbing," said Fields. "Out of 100%, how are we celebrating? Only 11% are performing on grade level, that's just 1% increase from last year, we only had 10. "Where are the resources that are helping those students, the other 89%?"
Fields applauded those who helped reach that 11%, but said celebrations are too soon.
“Until we move the needle for all, we should keep celebrations at a minimum,” said Fields.
As long as the district isn't at 100%, Fields said Memphis Lift isn’t going anywhere.
“We got the backs of every family, every student, everyone that's in this education system because it takes a village,” said Fields.