On Oct. 1, the Manhattan Chapter of Jack and Jill hosted its ninth annual education seminar at the Dalton School in Manhattan.
This annual event gives Black parents the chance to learn what opportunities may be available for their children at top independent-that is, private-and public schools.
“Jack and Jill of America is working to serve our communities in many ways, particularly through the education of our youth,” said Lana Woods, president of the Metropolitan chapter of Jack and Jill at the opening ceremony.
One hundred parents and 37 school directors or representatives were at the school at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, and over two and a half hours, parents and students were introduced to the various schools, with speeches from representatives of the schools and testimonials from former students.
Diversity, strong arts and languages programs, history and philosophy were emphasized along with the strength of the neighborhoods in which the schools are located.
“I grew up in the Ivory Coast and choices for schools there were very limited, as was the space they provided. It’s such an opportunity to have this kind of seminar to know all the good options for our kids,” said Idrissa Bamba, a parent at the event.
And while parents were very interested in the opportunities offered by the top independent schools present, several said they wished that there had been wider representation of quality public school programs as well.
In fact, only one public school was represented at the seminar: the Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School, based in Harlem. Patricia Botts, director of school admissions, said, “I heard about this seminar from a friend and I decided to come and present our school, but I was surprised that we were the only public school. There should definitely be more represented.”
Bettina Lee, a parent who lives in the Bronx, added, “There should have been more public schools represented, because it would give more options to parents who can’t afford to pay for private school. I still believe in free education.”