Wanted: Strong Candidates Who Believe in Public Schools by Jeff Bryant, Bertis Downs

few years ago, I decided to quit bothering with politics. I’d had it with politicians who say one thing and do another, who say they support public schools but abandon this conviction once in office. Talk is cheap, and when it comes to public education, political talk is especially cheap.

I set about working to improve our local schools at the grassroots level, because the way we do education affects everybody’s kids. Soon, however, I realized that to make a difference in public education, I had to engage in politics.

So many important decisions that affect schoolchildren in my town, in your town and in every town in Georgia are made in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Politicians make decisions about funding our schools, providing extra support for students who need it, regulating the number of kids in classes, ensuring the quality of the facilities students learn in, determining the number and frequency of tests they take, and deciding how to interpret and use the results of those tests.


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Colm Toibin visits Clarke Central HS: A somewhat extraordinary hour of high school on an otherwise ordinary day

In this post, an Athens resident describes a recent event that occurred at Clarke Central High School. Famed Irish writer Colm Toibin visited and engaged with students, not the usual activity on a regular school day but one that captures some of the extraordinary things that happen in this school district.

 

Our town was just treated to a three-day visit by the Irish writer Colm Toibin. He stayed busy presenting readings, public conversations and classes at the University of Georgia as the Delta Visiting Chair for the Willson Center for the Humanities and Arts, our remarkable and vital public humanities center. Thanks to the efforts of the organizers of his trip, he spent an hour with some of the students at Clarke Central High School.

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100+ Days of Action: Getting Involved in Public Education

When I am asked how to best “get involved” on public education issues I guess I think of a few salient things:

1)  Volunteer at whatever level is best for you: your local school, broader local issues, statewide or national policy issues. Our schools need the help everywhere and each of those levels have their own importance.

2)  In my advocacy I always try to focus on the connection (or disconnection)  between policy and practice. How do the laws that are passed in Atlanta and Washington affect the teaching and learning that goes on in classrooms every day?

3)  Happy and fulfilled teachers are an essential feature of any properly functioning school – – as a wise person once said: “a teacher’s working conditions are my child’s learning conditions.”   Teachers, and the other adults in a school community, truly are doing the Lord’s work— they deserve our thanks, our encouragement and our support.

4)  Acknowledge and celebrate what works in our schools, the many miracles and lives affected every day; at the same time,  we all need to work to address the many challenges that our schools face.

 

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