- a trained, caring and motivated teacher;
- a financially supportive and involved community; and
- emotionally supportive and involved parents/grandparents who have the time, interest and concern to pay attention at the school and at home.
If two break down, the system fails.
We are in a systems-failure mode.
Teachers are frequently too new or poorly educated and feel “dissed” by the community.
We praise the fire fighters and police as “first-responders” when there’s a crises.
Well, we have an education crises! We should be praising our teachers as “first-responders” and let them board early and take the first class seats!
Our community – yes, you and me – we don’t support our teachers adequately and instead blame them and the parents. The legislature and the Board of PCC etc. work for us. When they do a bad job, we share in the blame because we elected them.
Our parents, many here today, are often stressed for time and frustrated with their schools, so they move kids from one inadequate setting to another or just hope that somehow theirs will be the lucky ones that make it through.
There’s a lot of finger-pointing and blaming and not much collaboration. Year after year we elect people brave or foolish or self-interested enough to be our so-called leaders. At Pima the Board was asleep at the wheel, and none of us paid much attention. They oversaw a Chancellor that created his own fiefdom – unqualified friends in high places, an abusive and fearful place for women to work, and a lack of concern for the students at the bottom. He and the Board took the word “community” out of the College’s title. He, they and WE let it happen; now the College is on probation and we hope it won’t lose its accreditation.
At the legislature we say that our representatives first priority is public education, but then we elect people who spend their energy shouting about immigration and taxes
Do you know what a structural deficit means? It’s when your paycheck doesn’t cover what you buy, so something has to be cut every month. The legislature keeps cutting taxes for the special interests – the mines, the big corporations, the groups that can pay lobbyists to funnel big donations to the candidates so that they get tax breaks. Did you know that Arizona has led the country in cutting funding for education in order to pay for these tax breaks?
The k-12 schools get cut, the community college gets cut, the U of A gets cut and everything from pre-school to adult education and GED gets cut – and then we as a society start pointing fingers again. It’s the lazy teachers, it’s the superintendents, it’s the unions, it’s the parents that don’t care, it’s the self-interested politicians, it’s the seniors who don’t want to pay taxes. In truth, it’s all of us. We allow it to happen on our watch.
Today we have gathered to do something about it. PCIC, Literacy Connects, the U of A College of Education and people from congregations, non-profits and businesses have come together to say “ENOUGH!” Pima College, you are on notice! Arizona legislature, you are on notice!
Today, let’s educate ourselves, hear what the candidates say, vote, and start seeking collective solutions instead of just blaming one another.
The famous anthropologist Margaret Mead said that change starts with a few committed people. In fact, she said, that’s how change has always started. Let us commit to each other today to change education in Southern Arizona. Stand up if you’re with me!