The Gift of Abundance in Public Schools

There’s plenty of reason to advocate for public education from a position of abundance.

·      In public schools, there is an abundance of people who choose to spend their day with children from all walks of life, and of professionals who support the work of schools.

·      In public schools, there is an abundance of evidence that more students are being successful.

·      In public schools, there is an abundance of attention to children’s needs. They are fed, sometimes even clothed, treated for various maladies, comforted.

·      In public schools, there is an abundant thirst for innovation; for new ways to reach all children, no matter their background or learning style.

Too often, those who advocate for public education allow themselves to be in a defensive position; to be defined by weaknesses in the system.

Educators know where the weaknesses are, and what can help to address them. Listening to those educators is essential to thoughtful, long-term progress.

Of course, we must expect a lot from our schools, but we must also recognize that progress will take effort on all our parts. And, educators know more about what is needed than many who make decisions that impact them.

Our communities have resources to help, and they do. Statistics show, however, that the economic condition of many of our children will call for more of that. Schools cannot do it alone in 6.5 hours per day.

Part of what’s needed is more encouragement for our public schools, and for the people who work there or in central office positions.  That’s where an abundance of potential sits.

Kentucky public schools – including Jefferson County – have implemented many changes in the last few years: higher standards, new accountability, data-driven teacher teams focused on kids’ needs, better ways to support and develop educators. All these changes have played a role in progress.  There’s clear evidence that we are moving in the right direction.

I have heard it said of our public schools that “it takes time to turn the ship around.”

But I say if you turn this ship around, it will be going backwards.

It is abundantly clear to me that the strategy should be “full steam ahead.”

And, while we push forward, recognize the blessing of abundance of professionalism, progress and potential in our public schools.

 

 

 

About Debbie Wesslund

I served on the Jefferson County Board of Education, Louisville, KY, from 2007-2014 and continue to be an advocate for public schools. There’s a high-level dialogue about public education that swings from positive to negative, with many who seek the spotlight voicing an inaccurate picture of our public schools. Words matter. They get lodged in our public perceptions, creating a narrative that doesn’t reflect the real story. There’s so much more to public education, and much worth applauding in Kentucky and across the country. The stakes are high: public education is the most serious public business we are about as a community, a state and a nation. We must continually renew our resolve to support public education. There’s always more promise in building something up, than in tearing it down.
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