So what do we do?

I happened to ask someone yesterday what we should do on a personal level to improve our current situation. Not only did he answer the question, but I was guilted into answering it as well. Here is a more thought-out version of the answer I gave him. Please note: clicking on the title of this post will lead you to a list of political action organizations.

I think we need to organize people in our communities by using the library system. Instead of discussing all of our various problems with the government we join together on one issue: Education. I chose education because it is through education that people learn to think for themselves, something I feel the government is trying to avoid at all costs as evidenced by NCLB. It is an issue everyone in the community can relate to, and it is a good way to rally communities around the schools.

So the question becomes: How do we organize groups of people and convince them that their participation in improving education is important? Offering free courses at local libraries in educational law is a great place to start. A lot of people really don’t understand the No Child Left Behind Act and how badly it is hurting our students. Teaching parents how their children learn and lecturing on various learning disabilities is also helpful. Teachers and community leaders can volunteer to teach short classes at local libraries in politics, philosophy, and psychology. Finally, we can invite local politicians to speak to these classes and then ask them actual questions instead of the crap reporters ask. Writing Community Corner articles for our local papers about these classes and meetings increases visibility and participation. It’s not something that can be done overnight, but it can be done.


12 Responses to “So what do we do?”

  1. 1 United We Lay
    August 7, 2005 at 8:14 pm

    Any other suggestions are welcome.

  2. 2 BarbaraFromCalifornia
    August 7, 2005 at 9:14 pm

    Excellent post with some great ideas, pc. You are right that education is indeed a good bridge to trying to solve the problem.

  3. 3 The Zombieslayer
    August 8, 2005 at 12:10 am

    It would take some major overhauling to improve the education. First, parents need to be involved more. I don’t know if you’d agree with this, but I think that’s probably the #1 problem we have with schools today.

    I’ve heard teachers complain that parents are either indifferent, or they go nuts when their kids gets any kind of criticism. When I was growing up, talk between teachers and parents was much more civil. Now it’s been reduced to a shouting match.

    We need a carrot, some incentive. For example, AAA offers lower insurance rates for kids with good grades. As silly as it sounds, you can bet your heiny that will be a big incentive in the Zombieslayer family when Junior reaches driving age. I’ll cover the insurance at the good grades rate, and if his grades slip under, he’ll pay the difference. I’ll also cover any tutoring he might need.

    As for local politicians coming in, wonderful idea. Our Congressman actually came in because he was friends with the history teacher. He explained his job and how he got things done. So when I was only 16, I already knew that someday, I’d run for Congress.

  4. 4 United We Lay
    August 8, 2005 at 1:28 am

    I don’t know hat a carrot is necessary. We can start by organizing the small group of parents who are already involved. There are various fgroups of parents already organized. We just have to get the band parents and the football parents and the chess club parents all together and unite them under one cause. The PTA is something different. This group is for bettering education overall in our communities.

  5. 5 AQ
    August 8, 2005 at 11:07 am

    I think the PTA is a great place to start. The often misunderstood mission of PTA is to advocate for children and their launching pad is the schools. It’s a shame that the organization has been reduced to a fundraising organization in many local units, but the true purpose is to advocate for children – public schools are an extremely large focus. You may want to visit http://www.pta.org to find out more.

  6. 6 United We Lay
    August 8, 2005 at 3:31 pm

    Always – Thanks! But feel free to start off wih your own school and your own PTA as well!

  7. 7 AQ
    August 8, 2005 at 4:01 pm

    I agree completely, PC, and I do! But some get so wrapped up in their own school, they don’t look at the bigger picture. Sometimes we need to look beyond the schools that our children are CURRENTLY attending and try to get things right for the others, as well. Don’t you agree?

  8. 8 United We Lay
    August 8, 2005 at 4:21 pm

    I completely agree, which is why I suggested using the library. First, invite various PTA groups to one central library in the county for lecture series on NCLB. You get some people together and form a lecture circut to libraries in the county. The PTA parents invite the parents from their schools to the local library. Continue lecturing on various important educational issues such as multiple intelligences and learning styles.

  9. 9 AQ
    August 8, 2005 at 4:40 pm

    Have you ever attended Parent University at Countryside High? Also, the Pinellas County Council of PTAs holds a workshop every August and the State PTA holds a Leadership Conference in Palm Harbor every July. All 3 have quite a bit of info on NCLB as well as many other subjects. School/PTA newsletters generally publish registration information and contact info also.

  10. 10 United We Lay
    August 8, 2005 at 5:02 pm

    I wen this year and found it interesting. It really needs to be done separate from the School Board, though. Pinellas County is one of the only districts I’ve ver seen do this, and it’s great. Now it needs to be done in other places. I’m moving back to PA, and a lot of people on this blog are from all over the country, whcih can spread this kind of community event.

  11. 11 The Zombieslayer
    August 10, 2005 at 2:55 am

    PC – Keep at it. Never underestimate the difference one persistent person could make.

  12. 12 United We Lay
    August 10, 2005 at 5:54 pm

    The West Wing uses a quote from Meade, “Never doubt that a small group of like-minded people can make a difference. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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