Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Make a Commitment to Contribute to Strong Schools and a Dynamic Democracy in 2017

Massachusetts educators contributed substantially to supporting our public schools this fall with the Save our Schools campaign to not lift the cap on charter schools.

I supported this effort after reviewing the research and thinking about the terrific impact and potential public schools have for children and our communities. Strong public schools result in dynamic, free schools as well as an educated populous. And we know that an educated populous holds the best potential for peaceful, positive communities.

I believe that public money should be spent and managed by transparent, open, public process. I don't believe that public money should be handed out to private organizations to use as they will. I believe in our democracy and the potential it holds for the greater good.

Though many citizens feel overwhelmed with the day-to-day work, I believe that if everyone does their part, our democracy will continue to thrive and our public schools will benefit from this.

How can we as educators continue to speak up for and contribute to the greater good and the continued growth and strength of our public schools?

Here are a number of opportunities that are easy to access and contribute to:
  • Reach out to your local union and get involved. In my local union there are several unfilled and not too time consuming roles that people can sign up to participate in or lead.
  • Reach out to your state union and get involved. If you teach in a Massachusetts public school, plan to attend  regional forums in January 
  • Continue to do the good work you do, and continue to develop your craft by taking advantage of the countless professional learning opportunities that exist at the state level, within the union, via online communities, and elsewhere. This list could serve as a starting point for your professional learning search.
  • Reach out to local officials, neighbors, and friends to build the conversation and contribution to strong communities including dynamic student-centered schools. Teachplus offers a terrific online advocacy course and the MTA also offers a number of great leadership courses as well including Teacher Leadership Initiative and the Next Generation Leadership Training.
Sometimes More is More which means that sometimes if you reach out and get involved in a few more activities than you would normally engage with you actually gain more including more great colleagues, more professional learning, more avenues for terrific teaching and learning, and more vibrant, dynamic, and democratic communities. 

I encourage every citizen to make the commitment to get involved in 2017. Share your voice, talents, opinions, energy, and actions with others as one way to contribute to our democracy, strong communities, and care for each and every child we teach.  

Massachusetts is rated amongst the best schools in the country and world. This is due to our committed citizens, strong teachers union, and our strong state support and leadership in education. We are leaders when it comes to democracy and education, and as leaders, we have to continue to develop and grow the good work we do in ways that matter.