“I have realized why corrupt politicians do nothing to improve the quality of public school education. They are terrified of educated voters!” – Miriam
In 2005 at the Make Poverty History rally in London’s Trafalgar Square , Nelson Mandela gave a powerful speech calling on world leaders to make poverty a part of history, not to take it into generations moving forward. In 2017, with poverty still growing in inner cities and rural counties across America, it makes me wonder why aren’t our political leaders more intentional about the political influence on human services and survival. Family dynamics are often driven by political decisions that create barriers for effective education reform. The political agenda often drives how we live, love, learn and play. As politics is certainly a hot topic on the minds of people in America and the world, how does this effect the way we are engaged in making progressive changes in education.
Politics intensifies the educational challenges in education.The influences political views have on ESSA, vouchers, privatization of schools, the school to prison pipeline and educational rights of parents has life changing effects on many citizens. This is why voting and advocacy are very important in how we improve support for education reforms. I encourage stakeholders to hold their school systems accountable in the following ways to help build advocacy and voter engagement.
- Encourage healthy and transparent relationships between city, county and school board.
- Encourage honest, inclusive and trustworthy relationships between school District leaders, School Board, families and communities.
- Ensure school District ‘s embed community engagement best practices into their mission and vision to help build effective advocacy support and partnerships with parents and stakeholders
- Empower school board leaders to create policies that reflect and reinforce family and community engagement best practices to sustain relationships and empower stakeholder voices in decision making
The 2016 Presidential election opened the eyes of many Americans to not just voter apathy, but the level of engagement of our citizens in many areas, especially education. I believe the same dynamics that we saw in the lack of voters coming out to the polls connect to the low number of parents who are engaged in schools. Here are some reasons that disengage stakeholders.
- Stakeholders are tired of being lied to.
- Stakeholders aren’t effectively engaged.
- There’s a lack of diversity in represented stakeholders at decision making tables.
- Few politicians are connecting with the citizens struggling from poor political and economic decisions.
- The lack of support and awareness for voter education
Educational reform cannot take place if we ignore the impacts of policies of the lives of children, families and communities. We cannot continue to play political football with the education of children and ignore the collateral damages.