After the disappointing loss for Dwight Pullen in the state Senate Race, I found myself going through the seven stages of grief.
Denial — This can’t be true! When I wake Pullen will be in the runoff.
Guilt—What more could I have done?
Anger — Why are furlough days, more expensive health care, less coverage, larger class sizes and a rogue school board member not enough to get teachers to vote?
Depression — I guess politicians will keep walking all over teachers and there is nothing I can do about it.
We are taught it is rude or even wrong to talk about politics, especially in the work place. On a national level some of this might still hold true. But on a local level, we cannot afford to be polite any longer. These local elections affect school systems dramatically. The schools are on a barebones budget. Class sizes keep getting bigger while at the same time more is required of teachers.
Upward Turn — How can we turn this around? We will have to get out of our comfort zone and possibly make others slightly uncomfortable. I talked to every teacher I thought might be in District 14, on my personal time, about this election. I helped them find what district they were in. I told them why we were having a special election, and yes, I even told them about each candidate. I found when I was talking to teachers, they wanted to know the information and how to find it on their own later. It was uncomfortable at first, but it did get easier. Some who were not planning to vote, for whatever reason, decided to after our conversation. We can make a difference in our own schools.
Reconstruction — So where do we go from here? Find that person in your school that you trust to give you the facts about a politician’s stance on education. Some of us need to take the lead, be informed and share our knowledge. It’s important to start the dialogue.
Acceptance/Hope — Attention all teachers, parents and lovers of public education, consider this our Call to Arms.
If we band together as one voice, there is no election we cannot sway. Educating yourselves, talking to each other and getting out there to vote are the best things for education, our students and ourselves.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead