By Diane Forrest
Today is a day that has been set aside to support public education. It is not an official day as of yet, but plans are in the works to make it a national day. According to http://www.change.org/petitions/officially-declare-july-30th-national-support-public-education-day, the reason this day was picked was because Christopher Janotta, petition organizer, wanted to explain the choice of July 30th for this day, a date that may seem unusual to some because it falls in the summer when most schools are not in attendance. However, part of the problem with our public education system is just that: out of sight, out of mind. If students aren't in school, there is no point worrying about it, right? This is a mindset we must fight to overcome. The fight to improve public education shouldn't take a summer break, just as, contrary to popular belief; many teachers don't take a summer break. In fact, lawmakers often use the times when teachers and the public aren't focusing on education (holiday breaks, for example) to slide legislation by while nobody is paying attention.
The petition states that our education system is mired in a national crisis. The only solutions offered thus far by those making the decisions have penalized teachers, students, and society. Firing teachers, cutting school budgets, creating larger class sizes for students, and putting other punitive measures into effect is not the answer. Instead, success must be based on making education the number one priority, creating a culture of respect for education and teachers, and by realizing that as society has evolved, so must the education system.
If appropriate funding for our schools is not provided, if reforms are based on political sound bites rather than on solid research, and if teachers are left out of the decision making process while their careers are held hostage by factors over which they have little control, our public education system will surely fail. On the other hand, through the use of American ingenuity--upon which our nation was built--we can create a nation of future leaders that will bring this country to levels of prosperity never seen before.
Much as our founding fathers did when the time was right, we must come together as Americans--not Democrats or Republicans, unionized workers or non-unionized workers, those in office or those seeking office--but as Americans to do what is right for America. If our founding fathers had merely accepted things as they were and tried living under the tyranny of a king while expecting society to adjust, the great American experiment of democracy would never have come to fruition. Had those who started the civil rights movement simply shrugged their shoulders and said, "The government says this is the right way to do things, so what can we do?" President Obama would not currently be sitting at the helm in a position to lead our country back to prosperity.
America can no longer accept what is happening with its education system. When something is inherently wrong, it must be corrected by allowing all parties to come together to do what is right. Please help us make this happen by declaring July 30th National Support Public Education Day and by supporting our efforts to make America's public education system meet the real needs of every child no matter where he or she might live or what his or her circumstances might be.
To help make this day a reality, and show your support for public education, click on this site, and sign the petition.
[Photos from Google]