Changing the National Narrative About Public Schools ... Next Steps
By Cheryl Williams, Executive Director, Learning First Alliance (LFA)
· Universal, publicly funded, education is our country's most important historic asset and needs commitment and support from all of us, whether we currently have children in the schools or not, to succeed.
· The work of meeting the needs and increased achievement requirements for all our students is complicated, multi-faceted, and nuanced.
· Professional educators and elected school officials at the state and local level in no way support the "status quo" when that "status quo" has proven inadequate or unsuccessful in meeting student needs.
· Many, if not most, of our public schools do an excellent job of supporting student achievement, but when they don't, we all need to work together to make the changes necessary to serve students well, regardless of their socio-economic or family situation.
· The knowledge and experience of public educators and policymakers should be respected, heard, and acted upon, if sustainable, systemic improvement is to be achieved in our public schools.
· Strengthening public education requires a collective effort, not one that appeals to individual self-interest in the short term, but one that considers what's best for all our children now and in the long term.
· All "reform" efforts need to be evaluated for effectiveness, and when those initiatives work well, they should be shared widely to scale up good practice.
· And, finally, competition for dollars to fund public schools saps time, energy and resources from the important work that educators are involved in. Until we are ruthless in our examination of how we fund our public schools, which currently results in poor communities with insufficient financial and human support, we'll not achieve the progress we need.