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February 20, 2011


Today I have questions…

by Chris Lindholm

Why are the students often left out of the discussions on school finance and education reform? 

How do we create real, meaningful dialogue about issues instead of screaming sound bites at each other and making each other out to be people who somehow don’t care?  We all are people who care about people.  Why can’t we assume positive intent? 

Educators go to work everyday to help kids.  Can we be part of a real dialogue about how to align economic decisions to the core values of our country — instead of beating each other up publicly? 

How do we educators avoid fighting amongst ourselves and stay unified on our core purpose, mission, and approach to civil discourse?  Can we stick together?

Why do we group students by age all of the time in schools?  How can we uphold and honor the incredibly hard work that teachers do everyday while pushing for meaningful change? 

How can a legislative body make decisions based upon what is right rather than simply responding to the loudest screamers?   Why is the discussion in Madison about “us and them” and not about how to collaboratively deal with the budget crisis?

How do we talk about really changing education to address 21st century needs without making educators feel like they are being attacked? 

Why did the riots of Egypt and Tunisia work this time?  How will this affect us?  Doesn’t it feel like there is significantly more emotional energy sweeping the globe all of a sudden?

How will Egypt and Tunisia create a government that responds to and involves the people while making decisions that are right – and sometimes require the people to sacrifice?  If democracy is the right form of government, why is our country TRILLIONS of dollars in debt?

Can the masses really make the right decision for the masses – or do we always just think about ourselves?

If school districts have less revenue coming in and the pay structures create an increase in expenditures each year with no new money added to contract agreements, the end result is bankruptcy.  It’s simply a bad business model.  Why can’t we agree to discuss using a model that doesn’t lead to bankruptcy?

Why is it seen as a personal attack to ask that question?  We all balance our checkbooks at home…

Doesn’t anyone else wonder about the cost of America’s recent wars and how it plays into budget cuts to education?  Knowing the costs of healthcare are sky rocketing while baby boomers retire, are we really going to ignore paying what it costs to educate our children?  Really? 

How do we value each other – and together – face the reality of economics today?  How do we walk into the future of a flat world, without taking a signficant economic hit, if the vast majority of the world has a lower standard of living?

If education is the key to economic success moving forward, shouldn’t we align our resources and efforts to deliver on that?  What would that look like?  Anyone up for a respectful conversation on that topic?

How do we believe in each other, in education, and the hope of our future? 

To answer that question, I step into a classroom and watch the magic of a great teacher pulling the best out of the students.  Thank you – to all educators – for what you do each and every day!!

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Feb 21 2011

    I also do not see the need to shout on the streets to achieve something that you are fighting for. I mean, who cares? So far, I know nothing of an issue that got settled on the streets. Maybe during the barbaric times, but on this era. Why not propose something like educational financing to teach people responsible how to be responsible? Why not put it on print and support it with documents? In that way, I think we can achieve positive receivable effects.

  2. Amanda Marek
    Feb 24 2011

    I’m wondering a lot of these things too, especially as I hear reactions to what’s going on in Wisconsin and reading articles full of misinformation trying to persuade me one way or the other. I’m struggling to keep faith that humans can put aside their personal desires for the benefit of the greater good. But there does seem to be a lot of energy out there making change – and that’s exciting!

  3. Mar 3 2011

    Thank you both, John and Amanda, for your thoughts. Some perspective was offered to me today in a conversation about the climate of current political discourse. I was reminded that Abe Lincoln once jumped out the window to avoid having to vote (reference to WI democratic legislators) and the fact that none of our senators or house reps have been beat up with a cane on the floor of congress recently (yup, it’s happened…). Indeed, political tenor used to include settling matters with a dual sometimes ending in death.
    No question, media has taken the age old arguments and augmented them to deafening levels. We in the trenches need to learn how to muffle it, sift through it, and get to the right answers. I’m not confident we do that well – but that’s what I’m out to do for myself and the communities I serve. Now onward.


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