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Advocates push back against myth in low-income schools

Advocates push back against myth in low-income schools

SAN ANTONIO - As News 4 continues its yearlong commitment to explore inequality, San Antonio's Silent Crisis, we're taking a closer look at the misconception that low-income families are not involved in their child's education. Advocates say that myth is hurting the school system.

Denise Garzes has kids at Smith Elementary on the city's east side.

"The neighborhood is what you would consider low-income families," she says.

She volunteers at the school, helping connect families with resources.

"It makes me feel proud," Garzes says. "If you tell me there's a free event, and there's information, I'm going to be there. And I'm going to bring it back to the school. So if I get a parent that comes in. 'I'm having trouble with this, this and this.' Well guess what, I went here, I found this - here's some information for you."

Her work is part of the Family School Community Partnership in about 30 local schools. Education nonprofit Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) serves as a consultant.

"Trying to push back against the narrative about poor children and poor families make poor schools - that's not true," David Hinojosa from IDRA says.

He says the myth runs rampant, and it impacts education policy.

"Schools are so underfunded that you don't have a lot of success going on in many communities reflected in the way that state looks at success, which is mostly test scores," Hinojosa says.

The myth upsets active parents like Garzes.

"For anybody that says that parents don't care: I would like them to come to my school and tell the parents that are working, why don't you care?" she says.

Garzes reaches out to parents who work, parents who only speak Spanish, and grandparents raising grandparents. She engages them in the process during times that work on their schedules.

"Well guess what? We're doing baggies. You want to help me come pack? You can't take some of the items and help me pack," Garzes describes her phone calls to busy parents. "And they've also told me they feel really involved with the school even though sometimes they haven't even set foot in the school."

She says by working together, they're making a positive impact on kids.

"I get a satisfaction knowing they know they can do this," Garzes says.

If you have an issue related to the inequality crisis in San Antonio or a solution, you can reach out to our team at (210) 366-0711 or email us at silentcrisis@news4sa.com.

By EMILY BAUCUM

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