Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recalled how her public-school teachers thought she needed "remedial education" because she had grown up speaking Spanish at home
The new lawmaker, speaking Saturday at a packed town hall organized by Jackson Heights People for Public Schools said, "As a child I spoke Spanish first. … and I went to a school where no one looked like me. I went to a school where teachers thought I needed remedial education because I spoke two languages instead of one. "
It was not until she took a" high-stakes "test in which she scored in the 99th percentile across the board , she said, that educators realized she did not need extra help.
"It took a test instead of understanding the child in front of them," said Ocasio-Cortez, who shared the stage with State Sen. Jessica Ramos, Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, and NYU Professor Diane Ravitch, a leading charter school opponent.
"This issue is structural and it is systemic, which means we need a solution just like with Green New Deal, we need a solution on "
" I should never be made to feel that being bilingual was a deficit in the first place, she said. "
She also talked about her family fleeing their native Bronx to
"My parents, they felt like they had to choose between their community and a quality school, a quality public school," she said. "They felt confronted with this choice that we still see today 30 years later."
The leftist lawmaker plugged her Green New Deal, which includes initiatives like free post-secondary education, at the Queens forum. Bronx, Ocasio-Cortez said her parents were making the difficult decision to move to Westchester so she could get a quality public education. She called her entire family "chipped in" to buy a home in Yorktown Heights.
Calling public education "one of the greatest gems of public good in the United States," Ocasio-Cortez said after she finished her undergraduate degree at Boston University in 201
"I saw that, instead of being incentivized to go to the public school somewhere else, now we are being incentivized to enroll into a charter school, "she said. "We should never feel that way about our public schools. "
The 29-year-old politician who garnered national attention when she became the youngest member of Congress and beat Democrat Joe Crowley in a stunning  AOC, who ran part-time on a platform of free higher education, between $ 15,000 and $ 50,000 in student loan debt, her Congressional disclosures show.