As educators, we often feel devalued by the media and the political process/partisan battles. But the minute you step inside a school, you feel the importance of the work and the difference educators make in the lives of our children and young adults.
We educate the next generation of leaders no matter where they came from, what special needs they might bring with them or where they are in the learning continuum. That we serve all kids is the bedrock of why public education matters.
It defines why we think often about our CASE mission: to empower Colorado education leaders through advocacy, professional learning and networking to deliver on the promise of public education.
This year, school superintendents arrived at the Capitol armed with stories of their commitment and optimism about the actual work we do in schools across Colorado. They engaged with their local reporters and stirred up grassroots support. They rolled out a common message about why we need to invest in our schools.
And there is so much more work to be done.
This spring, I found myself thinking, before addressing a gymnasium full of elementary kids at Sanchez Elementary in Lafayette: “If only the critics could see this wonderful school, feel the energy of the children and experience the commitment of the staff.”
“If only” was my common refrain as I crisscrossed the state delivering awards to so many outstanding school and district leaders (visit our website for a complete list of CASE annual award winners and a little bio on each one). We can all work together to ensure that our critics have a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities we face.
As educators we sometimes do not prioritize connecting with our community, the press, politicians and business leaders as we are consumed with the essential mission and daily “woof and warp” of our schools. And, when we don’t accomplish that connection, the public turns elsewhere to get their information. They get it from disturbing headlines and sound bites that are a mismatch with the reality in your schools. So, as you wrap up this year and contemplate the next, remember just how important these connections in your local communities can be.