Protect the Premise of Public Education: Protect Democracy

 

We as a community have the responsibility to provide all children regardless of race, socioeconomic background, or ability with a quality education. That education should be free, appropriate to a child’s needs, and allow a child to fulfill his or her potential.

In order to fulfill that responsibility, we must have the democratic—small d, democratic—control of our schools. We must be able to elect meaningful representation to a local board that oversees a unified public school system.

Regardless of our political affiliation, we should all be alarmed that the local control—our ability to elect meaningful representation—has been significantly eroded if not essentially eliminated by laws and policies enacted at the state level.  The legislature and BESE have severely limited local control, so voters have little to no power to influence education programs or to exercise oversight of tax dollars.

If we don’t start taking action, we are going to lose not only our public schools. We are going to lose our ability to have any say in the design of a public school system. And I would say even worse, we are going to lose our democracy. We are going to have the illusion of participating in a democratic process, but the results are going to be effectively meaningless.

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