In today’s morning pages our prompt was to write a letter to the president expressing what we think he ought to consider in his educational platform.
We are all preparing to be English teachers. I am sitting around a table of about 20 people who, at this point, have invested not only their time as students, but their money, and their resources to pursue education. These people, myself included, are dedicated to education. Much like a businessman might invest in a company or a business in the hopes that he might one day get a return on his investment, we, the future educators of this United States, are taking a risk.
After discussing with my peers in a number of education classrooms one thing has become abundantly clear. Education is for all of us. Living in a democracy means that we assume that our citizens are capable of making informed decisions, either about policy directly, or about who they want as policy-makers. That means we need a society that is literate, that has the comprehension skills to decipher between various beliefs and stories that they will be exposed to, to empathize with others, and then to vote based on what they have learned. I know that I voted in this last election along much different policy lines than I did in 2012. The reason for that, is that I have grown as a person. My beliefs about what is going to be best for our nation and the world have changed significantly because of the opportunities I have had to learn.
Those opportunities would not have been available if it weren’t for the education I had received.
Therefore, I propose that equity in a quality education be a primary goal of your presidency. What does that mean? That means that, from birth, not every person has equal opportunities. Most often, in the United States, this has a lot to do with a student’s family’s socio-economic status. Poor families in poor neighborhoods often end up in school districts with fewer resources to provide the quality of education that a wealthy district might have. So equity does not mean equality. Equity means understanding that people were given a different shake from day one, and that to treat everyone equally is going to leave some of our citizens unprepared to act on behalf of our nation. This means, considering ways to create a system that addresses the issues of district, socio-economic status of students, and the desires of students, and channels resources to best provide for the needs of each individual. We need to fight to give each student the best possible education we can,
to be continued…