For the past few years, I’ve started to really pay attention to my future students and their wellbeing.
I think that those future students have my attention because I’ve come to realize that collectively we have let down our current students.
In past years, and especially in past elections, not enough people took care of our current students. Parents, teachers, community members, and even education activists failed at mobilizing forcefully enough to ensure students’ wellbeing.
Thus, our past selves let down their future students, and those students are now our state’s current students.
Collectively, we blew it for them. We really did. We were snoozing through life, while the pro-voucher, pro-charter, anti-school-funding folks were completely unified and mobilized.
Think of how much more time (through perhaps smaller class sizes) we’d have for our current students if people in past years had fought for them. Think of all the time we currently spend on 2nd and 3rd jobs. What if we wouldn’t be in this situation if more of us had been fighting harder 10 years ago?
We can change it, though. We can do more to ensure the success of our state’s future students by getting (and staying) involved.
How many of you have thought of running for office, for example? In 2018, teachers could (and should) be running for almost every office in the state*. With clean elections funding, it would not cost candidates much—if anything. Even without a chance of winning, teachers who run will raise the dialogue about education, and they will mobilize their friends and family members to vote.
People/teachers who simply can’t run for office can volunteer to canvass for others who are running; they can donate money (if the candidate is not running under “clean elections”); they can put signs up on the side of the road; they can work phone banks; they can register others to vote. They can do these things often and passionately (not one time, and think “I’m done; I helped).
Bottom line…they can invest time in other people’s campaigns, even if it’s not feasible for them to run.
I am calling on teachers to step up to the challenge of protecting their future students.
The pushback might be something like this: “I don’t have time! I already work XYZ number of hours on teaching my students and on school-related activities!”
I understand that response and, more importantly, I understand the nobility of wanting to devote every moment possible to our students. We are so invested in this noble endeavor, in our current students, that there’s often no time or energy for other endeavors—but our future students may pay the price.
Just as our current students are paying the price of our past selves’ apathy.
I plan on changing this (or at least being a small part of the change): Who’s with me?
*We need to stay out of races in which our entering will make it so no one who’s education-friendly wins.