From Survival to Action

The Election is over…..FINALLY!

We have survived another cycle of the democratic process.

I hope you have been able to maintain some of the friendships you had before, especially if you’re on opposite sides of a highly contested race.

The political climate in our country has become very divisive. I heard a few people say that it was similar to the environment in 1860, just before the civil war. I’m not sure if that’s accurate, but I can certainly see how someone would come to that conclusion.

That’s a topic for another time and another blog.

I want to send out a call to everyone who cares about public education.

Legislative sessions will be opening in a couple of months in most states, and there is much work to be done. 2020 was a year of unexpected challenges. Some we handled well, some we want to press a reset button on. Either way, I hope we learned a few lessons along the way.

As our legislatures look to enter another cycle, I know they will be facing challenges also. Their schedules, committee meetings, meetings with constituents, and access from advocacy and lobby groups will look much different than “normal.”

As an advocate, I consider what I can do to prepare for the upcoming legislative session. Here are a few suggestions:

Sign up to get updates on bills by joining a mailing list.
Save Our Schools Arizona

Arizona Education Association

Arizona School Boards Association

Expect More Arizona

Sign up for Request To Speak (RTS) at Civic Engagement Beyond Voting. You don’t have to say a word. Just register your stance on a bill that is in committee.

Be informed about local issues by attending school board meetings or watching them on YouTube.

To find out more about school funding, sign up for a virtual SOS AZ Network roadshow. It’s free, vetted, and approved by AZSBA for sharing on school campuses. It’s also an excellent program for a civic group or club.

Recently I pondered a passage from the Book of Matthew in the Bible: where your treasure is, there your heart will also be. When I look at my elected officials (especially legislators), I paraphrase that to say, “Where your priority is, there your vote will also be.” Don’t listen to what they say. Look at how they vote. That tells you what is essential.

Civic Engagement Beyond Voting has a list of 8 reasons to be involved with state politics. You can view the full document here. Here are the basics:

  • State laws directly affect our daily lives.
  • Our state leads the way when the feds don’t.
  • State lawmakers are more accessible.
  • Local politics shape national change.
  • It’s easier to stop bad policies locally.
  • States act as incubators for national policies
  • When national politics are the problem, states can be a solution.

If you like the way public policy working, advocate for it to continue. If you don’t like the way it is working, advocate for change. Use your voice, use your resources, and be the change you want to see in the world!

 

Susan Collins

I began my teaching career in 1991 in rural Mississippi. I served in 4 different communities in central and north Mississippi as a music educator, mostly elementary general music with one year as a middle school band director. I stepped out of working full time in the classroom for 9 years when my children were very young but never left teaching. I set up an early childhood music studio and taught music for children ages birth to age 5 (with an adult caregiver). I moved to in northwest rural Arizona in 2016 where I teach k-5 general music.

I achieved National Board Certification in the fall of 2016 and began my relationship with the Arizona K12 Center for Professional Development. I have served as a 2017-18 Arizona Hope Street Group Teacher Fellow and a Candidate Support Provider for National Board Candidates. I am passionate about advocating for the needs of rural schools and ensuring that every student receives an excellent education provided by passionate and qualified educators.

When I am not teaching, advocating, or writing about education issues, I am outdoors with my teenage children. I love hiking, reading, and going to musical performances. I can usually be found off the grid pondering my next writing piece!

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