Historically, the United States has devoted itself to a comprehensive system of public schools, locally controlled and funded by public resources. Parents who prefer a different educational opportunity for their children could, of course, pay for them to attend a private school. But in recent years the public school system has been under attack most notably by the corporate education reform movement which has been working hard to undermine that historic concept and replace it with one in which public funds are used to subsidize whatever “choice” a parent makes for their child. In the very contested Trump appointment of Betsy DeVos, as the Secretary of Education, this movement to dismantle the public education system is more powerful.
Our public education system is fragile and in need of reform, but very few directives coming from Washington have brought long-term positive gains. If we are truly to bring our public education system into the 21st century, we must advocate for a framework for public education that ensures that EVERYONE has equitable opportunity to a quality public education that will create a better world. The political and social will to create such a system took some steps backwards with this nomination and this administration. It is up to us to protect and advocate for a healthy, quality public education system for all.
Seek ways to KNOW your public schools, to continually immerse yourself in your local school and understand what is at stake in saving public education.
Write your elected officials and write to the education committee members. Ask your friends to write letters too.
Write letters to the editor, comment on education blogs, call in to talk shows and speak up at school and community meetings.
Gather a group of teachers, principals, and parents and schedule a meeting with your your state and local representatives. Remind them why public education is important and how it matters as a cornerstone of our democracy.
Vote for candidates who pledge to support public education and to fund the needs of children and schools.
Invite local civic and business leaders to spend a day in your classroom and school. Invite them to teach for a day.
Build alliances between teachers, principals, parents, and the local community to support children and the school.
Support a classroom expense for a public school teacher at Donors Choice.
Become a reading volunteer at a public school. Help with an after school tutoring or enrichment program.
Join local or state organizations that support public education.
Support the arts for all children and attend public school theater productions, orchestra and dance shows.
Become a writing coach – help students with essays or research. Help older students write college application essays.
Run for school board.