There is a lot of turmoil and conflict in the world right now, and we are quick to share our ideas and experiences on all sides of contentious issues. We wear our stances like badges on our Facebook posts, tweets, bumper stickers, protest signs, and lapel buttons. Due to technology and social media, these statements, no matter how accurate or appropriate, spread quickly.
The world of education has found itself at the center of much of this conflict, and it seems that everyone has an opinion and is not afraid to share it, often leading to even more conflict. A lot of what we see clearly states what people are against: educator unions, charters, vouchers, Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, lawmakers of both parties, corporate tycoons turned education reformers, etc. You name it, and someone is against it and is not shy to tell you about their thoughts. You log on to Facebook to check in on your room mates from college, and before you realize it, you are deep in a flame war about education funding. While we may be short on funding to satisfy every need and want in our society and economy, we certainly are not short on negativity and criticism.
Thoughtful, civil, and passionate debates about education are necessary to help us find resolution, but what seems to be overlooked is what we really believe in. We are very quick to state what we are against, but do we take enough time to share what we are for? If we take that time to state our positive beliefs, we’ll be better equipped to find common ground and make progress for our students and our society.
I’m for educators being treated like professionals and feeling proud and secure about their careers. I’m for parents being deeply involved in the education of their child, no matter where that education takes place. If that education takes place in a school, I’m for strong and meaningful communication between parents and teachers for the benefit of the students. I’m for our businesses and employers as they work hard to provide important services to our communities. Above everything, I’m for all students being able to grow academically and socially each and every day.