Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ravitch v Tilson - Part II – The Conversation Continues

I previously posted a blog about a conversation between noted public education advocated Diane Ravitch and Whitney Tilson.  What was most encouraging to me about that dialog was the fact that two individuals with sharply differing views on many topics found a common ground on so many.  I applaud the efforts of each to engage in a conversation about public education.  Last week, Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post published the second series of conversations between Ravitch and Tilson.  I continue to be fascinated by this exchange and am heartened that, even though they have different perspectives, the conversation is about public education.  The post from Ms. Strauss can be found by clicking here.

Speaking strictly for myself, I am often frustrated by what I perceive to be a lack of caring on the part of those who want to tear public education apart under the heading of school reform.  In a recent blog, I noted the need to invest in public education just as we do in our businesses or even our own lives.  If we fail to invest, we run a greater risk of failure.  But I have also come to realize through my advocacy efforts that mine is not the only opinion that counts.  I’ve learned from others and while I may not agree, I have learned!

As an example, the recent Texas Supreme Court ruling on school finance litigation (the 7th such suit in the last almost 30 years) regarding meeting the “minimum constitutional requirements” offered some real insights into why they made the unanimous ruling they did.  Do I agree with everything in the ruling?  Certainly not, but there is much in the ruling that makes sense to me.  As a result, I find myself wanting to better understand the ruling and ramifications so that I can frame my own thoughts on public education and my messaging to our elected officials.  I do know one thing; going to Austin to “bash” the decision or to criticize those with whom I have differing opinions will not solve the challenges inherent in public education.  By the way, I prefer to think of these as “challenges”, not “problems” as so many people define them.

Perhaps the greatest outcome from the conversation between Ravitch and Tilson, as well as the Texas Supreme Court ruling, is that there is conversation about public education.  I am reminded of the adage that there is no such thing as bad PR; perhaps that applies to public education as well.   The more we talk about it, whether we disagree with others or not, the more we seek to understand views that differ from our own, the greater the ability to be an even stronger advocate for public education.  There are always two sides to a story; take the time to click here to understand the views of two individuals who are strong proponents of their own position.  Use that knowledge to hone your message, to sharpen your focus, and continue your effort to Make Education a Priority.  Over 5.2 million students are counting on us to speak for them!

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