Activism Now: #OHPublicSchoolProud

I’m proud of the public schools that are nestled in neighborhoods across our state. Our public schools are a strong thread in the fabric of strong communities, and I am proud of the role I play in all of that. I am #OHPublicSchoolProud.

I hear this pride echoed everywhere I talk with teachers, bus drivers, school nurses, classroom aides and others in the schools we represent. I hear it from parents and community members interested in how they can support their children on a path to success. These people are #OHPublicSchoolProud.

I am proud of our public schools. This is why I support the #OHPublicSchoolProud campaign.

For too long, public education, and we as public educators, have been the target of unjustified criticism, even outright bashing. Whether it be derogatory labels or unfair grades or rankings that overlook the depth of work being done, these constant attacks on public education undermine the high quality work that we know is being done every day in our neighborhood public schools.

So why are we letting others define us?

In Ohio, there are more than 120,000 educators and 1.8 million students. Add to that millions of parents and grandparents as well as graduates of public schools. We all have at least one positive story to tell about public education.

So why don’t we tell it?

Today we invite you to tell your stories by supporting the #OHPublicSchoolProud campaign.

Are you a teacher? How have you impacted a child’s life? What have you done recently in your classroom to ignite a passion for learning? What are your former students doing now?

Are you a student? How have you been positively impacted by a teacher? Which classes do you look forward to each day and why? What project have you done in your school career that has helped you grasp an important concept or taught you a useful skill?

Are you a former student? What are you doing now? How did public school help you be successful in your current situation? Do you have a teacher that helped you become the person you are today?

Are you a parent? How has your local public school helped your child grow and develop this year? What opportunities (art, music, sports, internships, etc.) keep your child engaged?

No matter who you are, we want all of Ohio to hear the positive influence that public education has on children day in and day out. #OHPublicSchoolProud

Why is this so important now? Though I could write pages about this, let me sum it up in three quick bullet points:

  • Today is the first day for a hearing on Senate Bill 85, state Sen. Matt. Huffman’s voucher expansion bill – a continued attempt to privatize education.
  • Last week, President Trump proposed a budget that would cut education spending by 13.5 percent ($9.2 billion), including cuts to after-school programs and professional development, while increasing federal spending on school privatization programs by $1.4 billion with the ultimate goal of reaching $20 billion. This despite the fact that research studies continue to show dismal results (see https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/upshot/dismal-results-from-vouchers-surprise-researchers-as-devos-era-begins.html?_r=0)
  • US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who barely made it through the confirmation process, has a history of pushing school privatization through charters and vouchers, without quality controls, in Michigan. When asked about Trump’s budget proposal of $250 million to private-school focused school choice, DeVos indicated that she would collaborate with stakeholders to get it right in each state (https://www.usnews.com/news/education-news/articles/2017-03-20/betsy-devos-lips-sealed-on-trump-school-choice-program). Let’s be clear though that just last week, DeVos released a new ESSA template that eliminated consultation with stakeholders. According to the template, the only consultation necessary is with the governor, so when she talks about consulting with stakeholders on school choice, she is not talking about working with you or me. She means consulting with those who support her school choice privatization agenda.

We – the 120,000 educators, 1.8 million students, the millions of parents, the former students, and all of us who care about public education – have to be proudly proclaim the value of public schools in order to drown out those who defame public schools to push their own privatization agenda. #OHPublicSchoolProud

What can you do?

  • Show that you are #OHPublicSchoolProud by changing your profile picture on Facebook and Twitter. Simply go to https://twibbon.com/Support/ohpublicschoolproud, follow the directions, then share with others so that they can participate too.
  • Post your stories on social media using #OHPublicSchoolProud.
  • Encourage your school to hold a #OHPublicSchoolProud event May 1. More information will be forthcoming.
  • Like and share the #OHPublicSchoolProud Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/OhPublicSchoolProud.  Also post your #OHPublicSchoolProud moments here so that we can grow the awareness of the great work being done in public schools.

Let’s make this a movement.  Get everyone you know to post and re-post so that we can take back the narrative on public schools and celebrate them for the critical role they play in shaping our country.

Start today by going to https://twibbon.com/Support/ohpublicschoolproud to add the #OHPublicSchoolProud to your profile picture.  Then take five minutes to go to www.facebook.com/OhPublicSchoolProud and post on the page.  Maybe even share a short video clip.

I look forward to seeing your posts!

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