Why is public education advocacy important to you?
As a teacher and a parent, I know that a strong public education is critical for children and the community, in general. In recent years, though, public schools have come under attack from those who would like to make money by privatizing schools, and from those who, although they have never worked in the education system, think they know how to improve the schools. If I, and my friends and colleagues are not advocates, I fear what will happen to public education, so I find ways every day to support public education.
As an advocate, what accomplishment have you found most satisfying?
The work I find most satisfying was inspired by the Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education; creating a group in Northwest Ohio, comprised of parents, teachers and community members, who come together to advocate for public education. I have thoroughly enjoyed developing this group, fostering new relationships, and hosting community events to educate and engage people about education issues.
What are some of your frustrations or obstacles that you have met or overcome?
As an advocate, there have been plenty of times when I have been frustrated. Most common are the times when I see legislators pass education policy that doesn't benefit children, or when my group plans an event to engage the community, that we know is really important, but we don't get the turnout we hoped for. The thing that has helped me continue to advocate, despite the frustrations, is the knowledge that it will take years of sustained effort to win the fight for public education, and that my sustained efforts make a difference. Even when state policy is not what's best for public education, I am able to see some positives, based on the advocacy of people in my group and other grass-roots groups across the state. When the turnout for a program is low, I realize that we are still reaching people, raising awareness, and turning other community members into advocates.