I had my first opportunity to vote when Richard Nixon was elected in 1972 ... and I jumped at that opportunity and every opportunity to vote in a general election since then. I was raised in a conservative household with respect with respect for family values and a commitment to a public education system that groomed leaders of the world as we have come to know it over the years. That commitment to our youth paid tremendous dividends. But where we once valued education and once valued the right of every individual to an adequate public education, those values are being torn apart by many in the party that I have supported my entire life.
As I constantly read comments from the Lt. Governor and others who represent interests far right of those that I still hold close to my heart, I see tremendous challenges and a real threat to those who have a right to an education that will enable them to succeed in the coming years. Having just watched some of the speeches at the chaotic Republican National Convention, specifically those targeting (and offending) the teachers who give so much every day in and out of the classroom, I am saddened and deeply troubled by the prospects for these young people to succeed. But they will persevere despite efforts by many to throw obstacles in front of them!
I am not closed-minded enough to choose my party affiliation or candidate for President based on one specific issue. However, that doesn't mean that I have to agree with the party platform or the views of the nominee relating to public education. What this does mean that I need to dig deeply and search for the candidate who will have the overall best interests of the American public at heart, someone whom we can trust. I am not certain I have found that person so my decision will be based on "gut" as much as anything.
Having gained a better understanding of my options and the implications of specific party platforms, it's now left to me and others to engage, to do what we can to ensure that the voices of our children are heard and that they have the opportunities to which they are entitled. If I fail to engage in the discussion and fail to tell the positive story of public education, I am as much to blame as the politicos whose actions are governed by special interests and not by the needs of the masses they are elected to serve.
The more than 5.2 million Texas public education students are counting on us to Make Education a Priority. Are you ready to commit your energies and advocacy to these kids?