If Ever There Was a Time to Stand and Fight for Public Education, this is it!
If you have not seen today’s editorial in this morning’s Fort Wayne Journal Gazette (Monday, February 9, 2015) then pick up the paper now or click on this link. Invest in Schools
Indiana has several issues being debated at the state legislature and you can be sure the same debates are taking place in many other state legislatures.
Here in Indiana it is public school funding legislation in which the Governor and many of his supporters are pushing for more funding for charter schools and voucher programs without adequately addressing the needs of public school corporations throughout the state.
The Indiana governor and his supporters in the state legislature are also pushing a bill to make the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction an appointed rather than an elected position. Had the Superintendent of Public Instruction in the State of Indiana been someone appointed by either this or past governors rather than one elected by 1.3 million Hoosier voters, the department would have been nothing but a rubber stamp on an agenda that is not friendly to our states public schools, their students and communities.
The forces that are harming public education in Indiana and elsewhere are powerful beyond description and the only way to slow them down is for the parents of public school children to stand up and be counted. Write an email or letter to both the state representative and state senator in your area. Better yet, write and old fashion letter that takes up space and must be handled.
Sign a petition to support public schools, public school students, and public school teachers. Here is a link to a petition started by a 9th grade high school student taking a stand against the current emphasis on standardized competency testing. Reduce Standardized Testing in Public Schools Across America.
Seek out other petitions and opportunities to be heard by contacting such organizations as the Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education or the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, and many others.
Start your own petition and invite other parents to sign.
Contact your local school corporation or the principal of your child’s school and ask how you can help.
Just do something to make your voice heard and your vote count.
Hoosier voters, just like so many American voters, have fallen in to the habit of thinking that just because we have voted for people to represent our interests in the state legislature they can be left to do their job, unattended. Keep in mind that, once elected, your representatives and senators are immediately besieged by special interest groups who may be pushing agendas that are counter to your interests and the interests of your local schools and communities.
Do whatever you can to make certain that your interests are not subverted by these special interest groups.
If every public school parent and their friends and families would stand up to be counted we could put a stop to some of these policies very quickly.
Finally, link up with your public school teachers through your PTA and through local teachers associations and find out how, working together, you can make a difference. Right now, many of your school’s teachers are feeling overwhelmed by the changes taking place and powerless to do something about it other than leave the profession. We cannot afford to lose any more teachers.
The most important message I urge you to accept is the idea that we are not powerless and we need not feel hopeless. All we have to do is engage people, in any way we can, even one person at a time, to join the crusade. If we save public education in America we save America.