Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What can be expected of you?

The new year is just around the corner.  Many people are making resolutions for the new year.   What are reasonable expectations for each of us to have for ourselves.   Each of us needs to leave the world a better place than we have received it.  But how do we do that?   And particularly how do we make the world a better place for the children we care about.
First of all we need to have our values in place.   No child can learn if he or she is not sufficiently fed, clothed and sheltered.   Yet every weekend kids leave school hungry and stay hungry until they return to school on Monday.  How does the richest nation on earth allow that to happen.   We each need to express our values at the ballot box.  That means vote in each and every election no matter how small or seemingly unimportant.   If we care about children we need to make sure we vote those values.
Secondly, we need to make sure the agencies taxpayers are paying for are really working on behalf of children and not just pushing paper from one pile to another.  Each of us needs to report child abuse.   Then follow up to make sure that the child protective services have really done something about the complaint.  If the agency does nothing then a letter to the editor will expose that and change the attitude.
Each person needs to use the power of the free press.   Write letters to the editor.   Let people know what is happening in our schools.   We spend millions of dollars on new testing systems.  Then decide another system is better and spend millions more.   In the meantime our kids are in schools with water pipes that burst, asbestos that is destroying their lungs, mold, no air conditioning, broken windows and poor heating systems.   What could be done to these learning environments if these monies were spent on the physical plants in which we put our kids instead of continually changing testing systems whose value is doubtful.
School boards are doing the best they can but they are often caught in the squeeze between local governments, school administrators and teachers' unions.
It has been decades since teachers were really underpaid.  Yet unions demand step increases and cost-of-living increases without any correspondence to quality of performance of union members.   Unions need to be advocating for better buildings and more current instructional materials.
No one of us can make all these changes to our schools or benefit our kids.  But we can do somethings and what each of us can do we need to do.
One person can organize a food pantry to feed kids over school holidays and weekends.   Another person can track school board meetings and hold members feet to the fire to spend the money on school environments.   A weak teacher does not become a better teacher just because she is paid a higher salary.  Someone could monitor the child protective services to find out how they respond to reports.  There is so much work to be done.  The work can be seen as overwhelming and it is.
But it is expected of you that you will bite off the piece you can chew and get the job digested.

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