Tuesday, May 31, 2005

We're all stakeholders, all the time.

What started as a nice little article by John Branston about the White Station (Memphis) graduation ended with a paragraph I can't help but comment on.

"When I read the thoughtful editorials and columns about improving public education in The Commercial Appeal on Sunday I just shook my head. For the first time in 15 years I was no longer a stakeholder in the Memphis public school system. And the only people who can improve the public schools are the parents and teachers and administrators of the 163,000 students in the city and county schools."
I really believe that we never quit being stakeholders in the public education system. I understand that some of us aren't as intimately involved in the system once our children graduate or move on to another education choice, but the truth is that we still have to pay taxes to support that system and we still will be living in a world of those who've been in the public schools. Making sure that our tax money is spent wisely, that the children are really educated and safe are responsibilities that remain as long as we live in this world. We cannot and must not shirk our responsiblities once our children are out of that public system. Former parents, non-parents, and people of other education choices can provide valuable perspective and insight and have some responsibility to provide their viewpoint to current parents, teachers and administrators. This is a huge task that needs the help of the entire community, not just those currently involved.

I hope Mr. Branston, and others that have found themselves in his situation this spring, will seriously consider how they can contribute to the well-being of the system and the children. One afternoon a week or month as a teacher's aid, reading to children, painting a classroom or caring for the grounds will help keep you involved and be appreciated.

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