Letter to the editor: Cooperation key to fight to save public education
May 8, 2015
I recently attended the second annual Network for Public Education Conference in Chicago. When I got back home, the end of the Indiana legislative session had happened and, as usual, our legislators’ latest and most flagrant power grab took place at the 11th hour. I cannot say that I was surprised; my only real surprise was that their hubris has no bounds.
This year’s conference afforded me the opportunity to see old friends, meet new people and share ideas with other activists. After a fast and furious session of education reforms coming at warp speed, I was looking forward to being re-energized and refocused by the conference, and I was.
What I came away with was a need for a different strategy. While I have been focusing on the single issue of the destruction of public education, there are other interrelated issues that have resulted in the crushing of the middle class. Thus, if we are to have any success, we need to reach out to other people with other issues (racial justice, economic justice, environmental justice and so on) to build bridges and to build coalitions.
As I exchanged ideas with various groups of people, our excitement and energy came from collaboration, despite the notion that we are constantly being told that we only get better when we compete. Whether we are talking about schools or any other social endeavor, our greatest strengths come when we work together for a common good. Saving our public schools and making them more fair and equitable to all – regardless of race, gender or economic status – are the key components in creating and maintaining a fair and just society.
Even though I know that making our world a good and just place is not going to be easy, I still believe that we can strive to be better, and as long as I have the strength to continue, I will keep fighting to create a better world.
In the words of Tennyson, we must continue to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield. We must continue to do what is right for all of us.
PHYLLIS A. BUSH