There's many ways that educators and citizens can contribute to better schools.
First, do your part. Assess all of your expectations and see where you can do a better job. For educators that's means setting goals; creating paths to reach the goals; and assessing, revising, and refining along the way individually and collectively. Massachusetts educators may use our current evaluation system to lead their path in this regard--it's an evaluation system based on terrific tenets of good teaching and learning. The tenets are outlined in this Reflect for Success website. As parents it means making the time to sit down and think about how you are caring for your children and supporting their education--there are so many simple, but valuable, actions parents can do to help their children succeed in school. As citizens, stay informed and contribute where you might to support the schools in your community.
Next, speak up and advocate. Too many today are silent. I believe this is true because the information available is dense and cumbersome. Also, the possibility and potential for individual action is great. There's so much out there, that people are overwhelmed, and I think many react to that with silence--it's too much, so they avoid the information and opportunity to make a difference altogether. Instead, I suggest choosing one or two areas to learn about and get involved. The more citizens can learn, speak up, and contribute, the better communities will develop and support. This is critical to our well being. If schools become weak and children neglected, older citizens and society will pay a big price. I don't think anyone wants this.
After that, or perhaps first, model what you believe in. Walk the walk and let your actions be a billboard for what you believe in. We gain strength from those around us who consistently model empathy, compassion, contribution, and care. We are inspired from those who take responsible risk, reach out, and serve. It's not enough to express an opinion as we have to demonstrate the behaviors that support our arguments and advocacy too.
The more read and write about schools and teach, the more I recognize the value of schools with regard to our communities, nation, democracy, and world--schools are valuable institutions when done well, and this has value for our lives today and into the future. Schools profit from the contribution, voice, and choice of all citizens--we all play a role in forwarding good schools.