Welcome to January 2018!
The rush and excitement of the holiday season is over and with that passing, we all tend to fall back into our daily routines. This is a perfect time to reach out and let our elected officials and constituencies hear about the great things that are going on in every school across our great state. For school leadership, it is the time of year when planning begins for new growth in the future…namely the next school year. The groundwork you construct now will pay dividends in the future.
We exist in a political and societal climate that is volatile. The challenge for educational leaders is to adopt a positive perspective about the future, and in turn serve as a confident role model in the district and community. As the demands of our positions and school districts increase, so must the resolve to meet the needs of our children. It is important that we each accept the challenge to fulfill that incredibly important role in our districts. In the spirit of positivity and in an effort to counteract the anti-public school rhetoric taking place at the federal level, the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) has launched a public relations program that can assist you locally when sharing unwavering belief in the public schools in your community, state, and nation.
The AASA Board of Directors adopted a “Resolution in Support of Public Education” at its July 2017 meeting and in doing so set the tone and direction for the initiative. The resolution (in part) states that AASA:
… advocates for the highest quality public education for all students, and develops and supports school system leaders
…supports and values an inclusive, safe and innovative quality public education system that ensures all students can succeed, regardless of their zip code, the color of their skin, their native language, their gender/gender identity, their immigration status, their religion, or their social standing
…promotes equity and excellence for students, educators and administrators by implementing continuous improvement and research-supported best practices
…advocates for policies that address the unique needs of persistently underserved children,
… supports creating stable, equitable, predictable and adequate funding for schools based on local, state and federal revenues that will meet the challenges of universal proficiency and provide the funding base needed to support a system which leads to success for all students,
…supports the application of public school accountability systems for all educational institutions receiving local, state or federal funding including, but not limited to: virtual schools; charter schools; independent schools; and home school placements,
…supports public school choice and charter schools that operate under the governance of local public school boards. There should be a level playing field, including non-discriminatory and unconditional enrollment for all children. Common regulations and accountability should apply to all schools receiving public funding.
The resulting ‘I Love Public Education’ campaign is “a year-long effort by AASA to highlight why public schools are essential to developing the future generation that will maintain our country’s status as a world leader.” It is intended to create and leverage communication with local, state, and federal stakeholders in order to foster conversations and strong actions in support of public schools and its students. The program seeks to “reframe the current national dialogue on public education to highlight critical role public schools play as the bedrock of our civic society and their work to prepare students to be successful, contributing members” of their communities. The campaign can be shared through newsletters, social media, webinars, cohort communities and more. Additional information about the program can be found at http://lovepubliceducation.org/. I encourage you to check out this great resource.
School leaders across Minnesota will have many opportunities to get involved and show our support for public education over the coming months:
…the 2018 legislative session opens in February. While it is not a traditional “funding” year, there is sure to be other educational issues brought before the legislature for deliberation and action. Stay up-to-date on what is happening at the legislature, and respond to the calls to contact your local legislator as decision times grow closer. Participate in the MASA regional visits and phone calls to the Minnesota House and Senate.
…the Minnesota ESSA plan continues to be a work in progress. Make your voice be heard by MDE when input is requested.
…the Minnesota Arts Standards (Music, Art, Dance, Theater) are being updated this year. In the coming years these standards will become a larger part of the accountability structure when there is required reporting around the “well-rounded” component of ESSA accountability. Local/public input on these standards is welcome, so watch the MDE communications for feedback opportunities.
Best wishes as you begin the second half of the 2017-18 school year. I encourage you to stay positive and stay involved in local, state, and federal issues related to public schools. Check out the “I Love Public Education” page at the AASA website to learn more about the nationwide campaign. Our voices matter…let’s make sure that they are heard! •