As schools re-open after a summer recess, and the fall elections come upon us, I am reminded that our great democracy rests on the idea that we provide the strongest public education for all. Appreciating that each of our children will mature to become an active citizen in this experiment in democracy, we want ALL students to love words and stories, to access ideas in texts, to debate and dialogue with others across the spectrum of values.
Every child wants to learn and know how to be with books. But, some kids show up to school ready to learn and some do not because of out-of-school factors. Years of inequitable policies across regions and districts, acute trauma and mental health issues that plague some families and systemic neglect help create the conditions for failing to thrive.
There are no great answers or panacea to making the schools successful for ALL children EXCEPT for doing what failing businesses and corporations do: putting more money across the K-12 programs. That means raising teacher salaries, doing less testing and much more teaching, reading and talking more in schools.
By privatizing schooling, we neglect and therefore abuse those families who cannot advocate their wishes and needs for their kids. By pouring our effort and money into PUBLIC schools, we all benefit because we all have to live together in our communities. A democracy needs and wants us all to be smart.
Listen to the candidates this fall. Who, in our political races, best represents this renewed attention to public schooling?