How About a $700 Billion Bail Out For Our Schools?!

bail1.jpg I was recently welcomed to the state of North Carolina by the North Carolina Medical Alliance and the Chamber of Commerce of Sanford to speak about focusing on strengths in schools and communities as a cornerstone philosophy in improving the drop-out rate.
At a gathering of supporters of the Communities In Schools organization in Sanford, Chamber of Commerce Director, Bob Joyce turned to me and said, “Just think of what we could do if the government turned its resources to our schools!” I envisioned this and felt–well, sad.
In this time of economic unrest that acutely effects so many Americans, it seems the conversation about what politicians have planned for our nation’s educational system has been lost. The alarming fact about this is that our economic situation may well improve in the short term due to recent decisions in Washington, but what we are failing to address is what happens in the long run when we are not graduating citizens ready to enter the workforce or prepared to understand and thereby uphold the basic premises of our democracy.
Of all the proposals made by legislators, one thing we know from the educational field is that by helping young people identify their unique contribution by developing their strengths, we are ensuring our communities long term viability.
A rising tide of concerned citizens understand this premise. It was hopeful to be in North Carolina and in particular in Sanford, where I met with educational officials and community leaders to begin the conversation about focusing on assets and strengths as a way to strengthen communities. But this is a far cry from the work that we must ultimately do. America needs to wake up and take the topic of our future generation seriously. This will take commitment in the form of financial investment. And it will take leadership from both within and outside the school. People like Bob Joyce and the citizens of Sanford are taking this responsibility seriously even at a time when their portfolios are shrinking. The rest of the country will need to follow suit.

  1. Ashley Hall Reply

    I wholeheartedly agree with you, Jennifer!!! We educators and parents must stand up for what we know to be true about our current education system and the changes that need to take place. It is time to stop sitting back, complaining, and thinking about what could be different, and actually take ACTION! I am in the midst of reading your book and absolutely love it! I support what you are doing and am in the process of taking action myself. I am filled with a wondrous passion for this cause and for students across our nation to know who they are, what they are here to do, and then fulfilling that purpose!

    Ashley E. Hall
    3rd grade ELL teacher
    Nashville, TN

  2. Aurelio Montemayor Reply

    YES. We must create the public will to support the resources $$$ our children merit, deserve and need. I’m glad for you and the rest out there with the vision, the charisma and the writing chops to keep the vision focused on children’s assets. The taxpayer relief movement focuses on physical property assets as if those are the ultimately most important and tangible…and most in need of defense from ‘bad govmint’.
    California used to have a fairly good educational system until Prop. 13 and the ‘taxpayer relief’ brand of common (as in lowest common denominator) sense took hold and now that educational system is pretty much going down the toilet.
    Money and resources for public education make a huge difference for our economic future. (I’m personally more interested in justice, compassion and the furtherance of the democratic dream, but I don’t think that sells these days.)
    The harsh truth for the long haul: you can’t have a secure economic future without equity and excellence in public education.
    More than the Department of Defense budget, more than the bailout of our private sector big-betting gamblers that are sinking the economies of the whole world, we must, as a nation, decide that our children are our future.
    We must act and vote accordingly.
    And again, thanks for your blog, your book and you.

  3. Kate Reply

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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