The teachers that made a difference in my life were stubborn and determined. They had to be. Heaven knows I gave them plenty of reason to give up in frustration. Looking back I realize that the optimism of teachers has always played a powerful role in education.
So, you want to know what part of NO we don't understand...
We don't understand NO because the economy is so tough. Our kids need a first rate education now more than ever. This is the ONLY time for them. . . when (and if) things are easier will be too late for the kids in front of us right now.
We don't understand NO because for the growing numbers of students living in poverty, we have two choices; We can invest in them NOW through education or pay much more LATER when they are illiterate, unemployed, uninsured, or incarcerated.
We don't understand NO because the educations that you and I received are not enough for today's students, who are not only in competition with the kid next door but with kids around the country and the globe.
We don't understand NO because in a time of INCREASING federal pressure to perform on "accountability measures," it is ludicrous to believe that our students will get a fair shake when we invest so much less than 95 percent of communities across the state.
We don't understand NO because for families that work hard, value education, and want their students to have every opportunity possible, the playing field here is not equal or fair. We cannot get our students "college and career ready" without adequate textbooks, resources, technology, or infrastructure.
We don't understand NO because, although there wasn't a single computer in my high school 30 years ago, being 21st Century ready requires access to cutting edge technology. These kids can't wait.
We don't understand NO because our buildings are aging and in need of repair. When it rains, the roofs still leak. That hasn't changed.
We don't understand NO because overcrowded classrooms are NOT ideal learning environments. Inadequate furnishings, materials, and space aside, each student's "fair share" of the teacher's time is diminished every time a class size is increased. Any farmer knows that after a certain point, planting more seeds per acre is counterproductive.
We don't understand NO because the children in front of us today are the people we will depend on to solve the problems of tomorrow. These are our future innovators, planners, engineers, architects, technicians, and care providers. Educating them well is in our own best interest.
We don't understand NO because a strong community depends on strong public schools.
We don't understand NO because the needs don't go away with the failed levy attempt. The children are still in front of us, faces filled with hope and expectation. We have ALL encouraged them to dream and believe in future possibilities.
We must keep fighting for what we know these kids need and deserve. That's the part of YES we still understand.