A Declaration of Independence from Gloom and Doom

While waiting for my Independence Day coffee to brew this morning, I came upon a poem on Diane Ravitch’s blog. It started, “Dark, deceitful, dreadful. The war continues.” It goes on, “Masses are found naked. In the valley of corporate reform”

I wanted to jump off a cliff.

From the opposite perspective, U.S Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was confirmed by the Senate after saying, “Our education delivery system in America is antiquated and it is quite frankly embarrassing.”

That made me boiling mad.

The rhetoric on the far left and the far right about public schools is part of the problem.

Statements about public education – especially if thousands follow your words – should be inspiring.

You can’t build something up if your words cause people only to feel helplessness and anger.

And, you absolutely cannot build a bigger army of advocates. The army you may be building won’t grow in size, but it will absolutely grow in intransigence.

There is so much to applaud in public education. I would much rather read on this July 4th stories about how schools have been the centers of so many communities, strengthening our great nation.

Please count me among those who are advocates for protecting and providing for public schools. I have heard Diane Ravitch speak. I respect her knowledge and how she uses it to make the case for public education. I am sure the poem’s author, whom she admires, was diligent in her work, as well.

But, I can tell you that the school systems and educators I know throughout this state do not identify with either of the Ravitch or DeVos perspectives. Their schools are doing great work, they are making plans to always improve, and they love their students.

They are the most effective advocates in making the case for restoring investment in schools.

One good result of my morning is that I am more convinced than ever that we can come together to support public education. Glooming and dooming in public isn’t the way. That’s why I started this blog in the first place.

Find a way to support public schools – as a former pastor used to say – “in your word and deed.”

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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2 Responses to A Declaration of Independence from Gloom and Doom

  1. Brad Matthews says:

    Well said! I want to work with people who want to make a difference in spite of our challenges. That is also part of the problem in our current political quagmire. I am not interested in party-only perspectives. I am much more interested in conversations that are willing to consider the possibilities of both perspectives and to recognize possibilities in each perspective. I want us to be a “thinking” country, again, with deference to what the full range of data of any issue are telling us. It is easy to find evidence to confirm one’s belief. The real measure of an idea is to look for evidence that counters it and, perhaps, to find none or to be able to reconsider an idea in light of countering evidence. It should not be about who is right and who is wrong, but rather how do we make this issue better because we worked together.

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