Why do you advocate for public education?
I advocate for public education because I am convinced quality education is the key to allowing all individuals a fair chance at success. Further, providing all citizens with a quality education benefits us all by increasing each individual’s ability to participate in our society in a healthy and constructive way while diminishing a number of negatives which drain the resources of our communities. I advocate specifically for public education because it is the best means to assure equal access to all individuals to quality education.
I have a hard time finding any ‘accomplishments’ as personally satisfying. I am frequently reminded of all the strong advocates who are fighting the same fight as I am who are doing so much. Also, the fight is so hard currently with so many setbacks caused by those who promote funneling public tax dollars to private schools that it is hard to celebrate the victories. [What] is most satisfying is hearing that a child has overcome horrible personal circumstances and has begun a successful journey toward a quality education. Seeing a child’s eyes light up when s/he is in a learning setting is all the satisfaction that is required.
The biggest frustration that I have is the size of the opposition. It sometimes feels the amount of money being lined up against public education is immense, and it can be daunting. Also, the amount of misinformation and misstatements or labeling is frustrating. The use of the word ‘choice’ to defend the use of public tax dollars to fund private schools is perhaps the most frustrating. We meet this by continued perseverance to the cause we know is right and just; and, because we know we speak for many who do not have the ability or opportunity to speak for themselves.
The belief that private schools are performing better than public schools in educating our children is a myth. Some private schools may be able to record better test scores, but they are also selecting the students who attend their school and are not taking all who apply as is true with public schools. Public schools achieve their success taking all students as they are without eliminating those who may present special obstacles in education. Because of this public education is the best opportunity to assure that everyone in our society has an equal chance to succeed, and it the best opportunity for an overall rounded education that will prepare a child for all aspects of success in life. Public education focuses upon what is deemed important to a quality education without consideration of any agenda which may exist with the founders/funders of a private school. In a public school, in addition to quality subject matter education you obtain a social education by participating with individuals from a cross section from the community. This latter truth was a major factor for why I elected to keep my children in public schools. I believe to really be able to be successful in our society a person needs a good subject matter education but also an ability to relate and deal with people of all walks of life. I believe it is valuable for children to be in a classroom with others who may struggle in different ways. They are opportunities to learn compassion; opportunities to learn how to help others; and, opportunities to see how education helps overcome these obstacles.
Parents should stand up for their local public schools by calling and writing their state legislators to advise them that they want their tax dollars spent on public education and not funneled into private schools. Most important, each should get involved in identifying candidates for Indiana State public office that support public education--support those candidates; campaign for those candidates; vote for those candidates; encourage family and friends to vote for those candidates; and, after they are elected, keep in contact with those elected officials to hold them to their commitment to support public education.
Currently, my current legislators ignore my communications. I have had more luck in communicating with other legislators from the Allen County area but am still frustrated by their continued support of vouchers.
Quality education is the key to allowing all individuals a fair chance at success. Further, providing all citizens with a quality education benefits us all by increasing each individual’s ability to participate in our society in a heathy and constructive way while diminishing a number of negatives which drain the resources of our communities. I advocate specifically for public education because it is the best means to assure equal access to all individuals to quality education. Lack of a quality education is the number one cause of a person’s ultimate need for various social service programs; increasing juvenile delinquencies; increases teen pregnancies; and, a cascade of other negative circumstances that drain our public resources and further limit the available public resources for public education as well as other action which would benefit our communities.
I believe that all citizens should get involved and fight for those things which they think are best for our community, state, and country. Public education is the starting point for that. I also believe it is the duty of those who can to fight for those who may not be as able to fight for themselves. Children do not have the ability to effectively advocate for themselves and many do not have parents or guardians who are able to be effective advocates. I was gifted with abilities which allow me to be an advocate so I feel it is my public duty to be engaged.