Tomorrow all across New York, citizens will vote on public school budgets and on those running for local school boards seats. I can’t begin to tell you how important I think tomorrow is.
Public education in our country is under assault.
Education is seriously under funded, over mandated, and constrained by rules and laws that may have been useful at one point in time, but now limit the choices and flexibility that are needed to meet a very different set of demands. Teachers spend too much of their time teaching towards standardized tests rather than encouraging learning. While tests may provide markers for under performing districts, in districts which perform well an over emphasis on testing limits creativity and exploring cutting edge models of teaching and learning.
I do not know what the answer is.
The issues are very complicated and intertwined and a one-sized solution probably is not the answer. But here is what I think I do know.
Well paid and well respected teachers are a part of the solution.
Adequately funded public education is a part of the solution.
Well maintained buildings and facilities are a part of the solution.
Broad based community participation and investment in our schools is part of the solution. We have a proven record of all these things working in the community in which I live and in the surrounding communities. Education here is not failing our children.
I know significant changes need to be made to improve education for all.
But to strangle our schools either financially or psychologically is not going to help.