On Saturday I woke up like many others, sleep deprived from one of my little monsters keeping me up all night. Many of you I'm sure can relate. This Saturday was a little different though, I couldn't attempt to sleep in because I had a grad school class about community engagement. I know what you're thinking...boring, but I was truly looking forward to this and probably wouldn't be able to fall back asleep anyways. What I didn't realize was how my perception of public education would change after this class.
In an earlier post I mentioned the importance of trust (The Formula of Trust). This was a big part of our class discussion on Saturday. One thing that was mentioned was people losing trust in their local school district, my question was...why? Is it because we have not changed our schools enough? Is it because we haven't found the correct formula to engage families? Perhaps people have negative past experiences with school and this makes them feel uncomfortable. Whatever the reason, we need to build relationships and have trust with one another with the changes we all make. After all, we ALL are on the same team and know that it's all about the kids!
According to nces.ed.gov, “Total expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools in the United States amounted to $620 billion in 2012–13…” WOW, that's a lot of money. This stat leads to the first discussion point. This money has always gone to our public schools. My fear is, if we don't change our schools to match what businesses need, we may begin to see the private sector dip into this money more and more. Making a larger gap between private and public education. Change has a negative connotation; I want to be clear change isn't necessarily a bad thing. The fear of change is a bad thing.
The changes we make need to be correct for the community in which we serve. How is this done? Our school district did a great job with a community outreach committee, made up of diverse stakeholders (including myself) for our students. We did numerous activities, and reviewed data to get a better understanding of what we truly want for our students and community.
With trust in place, we will be able to make changes to our school districts to benefit our children for their future endeavors. Hopefully, it's not too late.