Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Importance of Public Education

Last Friday afternoon, I went to Fry's to get some groceries.  All of a sudden, two little girls came running up to me.   One of them told me that she was in kindergarten the last year I was principal at Gilbert El and now she is a sixth grader.  They were there with their parents and the mom reminded me that she was also a student when I was the principal.  That can happen when you spend 20 years somewhere!!   I was so touched that she remembered me and wanted a hug.   As I walked through the store, I got a bit teary as these relationships are so important to me.

When I got home I did a post about what had happened on Facebook.   I did a bit of a "rant" about what is currently happening in Arizona and around the country to public education.  The lack of funding in Arizona in particular is a travesty of such major proportions that I believe we are in a real crisis.  Here is what I wrote:

I just don't understand why education is taking such a beating by politicians, in Arizona especially. The unwillingness to fully fund public education is beyond scary and is such a disservice to the future of our country. The reason the US is a leading country in the world is that ANYONE can get an education here. I always remember my mom telling me that we should always vote yes in every election that was for funding education even though we went to a Catholic school because of the importance of public education. I don't care what political party anyone belongs to...we need to wake up and take care of our children and keep good people in the field of education by adequately compensating them. I hope that everyone out there (who can) votes YES for the Gilbert Override and I sincerely hope that people will reflect on who they vote for in the next election and determine if that candidate truly cares about the future of Arizona and our country. I read today that there is a surplus of money in Arizona but there is still going to be a huge fight about how much (or how little) will go to the schools. I had an incredible 43 year career in education and I hate that things are in such a mess. I know getting a hug shouldn't set me off, but it is all about the children and the relationships that are built.

Since I have been back in Gilbert, I have done some work on the GPS Bond and Override Campaign.  Last weekend, I walked neighborhoods both Saturday and Sunday going door to door asking people to vote yes.  It was a very rewarding experience.   I continue to be so impressed with the Gilbert community coming together to take care of the great schools here.  The committee is bi-partisan and there are people on the committee who are conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats.  But they all understand the importance of public education.  It has been good for my soul to see this happen.   

A few years after I left Gilbert, the Board majority became a "tea party" majority.   In just a few short years, this Board did so much damage to the wonderful District that I had worked in for 39 years.    The superintendent, all of the assistant superintendents, many quality administrators and teachers left the District because of this.  I believe it will take years to repair the damage.  However, it is well on its way to getting better because of the support of the community.   They were able to get the Board majority reversed the last election to bring some sanity back.  

I am proud to be a part of this effort.  I have always "preached" that we have enough outside forces trying to destroy education that we should all be working together.  This was one of the sad parts of my previous position in that a very few "very" narrow minded people did their best to try to destroy the good things that were happening.  They tried to take the focus off of what the real problem is--state funding.   But as I have said before, I still believe "what goes around, comes around" and they have to deal with the extreme damage that they have done through the years.........

The comments that I got from my post on Facebook were amazing!!!!!!  I may post some of them on my blog.  

I am loving being able to be involved in so many different activities now that I have time.  I am looking forward to being able to do more in the future.  I have even been asked to run for the Board here by several people.  Not sure that is something I want to do, but will definitely leave my options open!