New Year’s resolutions offer a chance to examine schools, education in state

Marisue Horton:

As we head into the season for making New Year’s resolutions, here’s my wish list for resolutions relating to education in 2007:

  1. Embrace our differences. Education is the ability to provide opportunity and challenges to all students. Each child is a gift and has talent. Families, schools and politicians need to avoid pitting one group of learners against another. All are valuable.
  2. Build understanding and avoid condemnation. Parents, learn to advocate for children by defining the problem to be resolved. School staff, encourage family input and work together to find solutions. Community members, visit and offer to volunteer in your public schools. Before criticizing schools, look carefully at what they are doing. Know the issues.
  3. Educate the public by researching the issues. Members of the media, do your homework. We are sitting on one of the best research institutions in the world. Don’t fuel the fires of divisiveness on educational issues by quoting sources without researching their assertions.
  4. Appreciate school staff. There is no greater career, nor many that are open to as much public criticism, as teachers. Take time to thank a teacher, appreciate their work by attending and participating in school events. Find out what’s going on in your public schools each day.
  5. Get involved in solutions to improve public education. Define waste. Rather than criticize local decision-making, share ideas for fiscal responsibility. Help boards of education and administration make districts more effective. Acknowledge that 13 years of revenue caps are stripping our public schools of their ability to effectively educate students. Referendums are NOT the answer. They are little more than panhandling for our kids. Stop asking us to beg for our future.
  6. Acknowledge that leadership matters. Support the hiring of the best quality staff. Ask for local progress reports on your schools. Talk to your legislators and other policymakers about the state’s responsibility to keep their commitments on public education. If you believe in two-thirds funding from the state, demand that legislators live up to their promises!

Marisue Horton
Madison schools parent