We care not only because it’s our civic duty to participate in the political process but because we care passionately about our students and about the future of our country. When it comes to our kids, we don’t hold back and we don’t give up.
As I travel around the country it is awe-inspiring to see so many educators and their families fully and actively engaged in the political process—regardless of their preferred candidate.
Now that we’re past Super Tuesday, and as I review the political landscape of Election 2016, I am amazed at what I have seen: Educators in action, holding signs at political rallies, leafleting in neighborhoods, phone banking, caucusing, providing rides to the polls so that others can have their voices heard, too.
I’ve heard and read about educators expressing their views for the candidate of their choice on television, radio and in newspapers. I’ve seen their posts on social media. I’ve watched as educators flank political candidates on stage on TV.
I’ve seen educators talking candidly with candidates from both sides of the political aisle, engaged in an honest dialogue about public education, about our students.
I have seen educators ask the tough questions. And demand answers.
And candidates are listening. I see candidates talking on TV about what they plan to do to ensure all students have an equal opportunity to succeed regardless of ZIP code. I read about them criticizing for-profit charter schools. I’ve reviewed their plans to tackle the school-to-prison pipeline and the college debt crisis. I hear them standing up to the scapegoating of educators and demanding more respect for the work we do for students every day.
When it comes to advocating for what our students and schools need—and making sure the voices of educators are included in decisions that affect our classrooms—now, more than ever, we are collectively stepping up for our students.
We are the experts. We know what our students need. We are the trusted members of our communities and can advocate unlike anyone else.
When we speak up, people listen—candidates listen. We must use this to our advantage and speak up for our students. We must get involved early and often. And never give up!
Help keep our students and public education front and center in Election 2016.