Social conditions improve when ordinary people collectively choose to act. Our country’s history is filled with a plethora of examples to prove this point. The American Revolution, abolitionism, women’s suffrage, the Civil Rights movement are just a few examples of what I’m talking about. Improved social conditions were not handed to us nor were they granted to us by great figures whom we would later memorialize. No, they were fought for by ordinary individuals.
I am convinced that improving public education is going to take a fight. The reason? Conventions and comfort with bad practices are strongly webbed in our social fabric. It’s going to take action at the street level – those closest to the heartbeat of schools – to make the change happen. This means that teachers need to fight for the well-being of schools. Unfortunately, I doubt change will happen any other way.
This upcoming year I will encourage WAPS’ teachers to take charge of their future by speaking out for the betterment of our public school district. Why teachers? Because the starting point of a better school is better treatment of its teachers – and teachers have some leverage regarding their treatment. But, it is dangerous for individual teachers to speak out on their own. This is why teachers have a union from which they can collectively speak out.
Our public schools will not improve with parked cars. Parked cars are the enemies of social progress – and what comfortable autocrats rely heavily upon. What is a parked car? A parked car is a person who wants things to improve but they’re not willing to do anything about it. Activism requires bravery. It always has. We have a country because of the bravery of ordinary individuals. Civil rights were achieved because of the bravery of ordinary individuals. The same goes for our public schools. Teachers – and their students’ parents – need to be brave if our schools are to improve. Consider how you might use your voices for the collective good.
Are you ready to put the keys in your ignition?