So the ugly campaign is over. The lies and distortions will hopefully be but a fading memory. What I'm concerned about is retaliation by the legislature against public education and against teachers in particular. Reading Steve Urquhart's blog, I feel atleast some optimism that this issue will not result in a decimation of teacher salaries and benefits and to a decision to take money from schools and redirect them to other priorities.
We as citizens made a statement that I think was pretty loud and clear, that we value our public schools, and don't want our hard-earned tax dollars going to private schools. But I also hope that a concern for public education resonates with the public in general, to be willing to make a commitment to be a partner in the process, not just a bystander.
For those of us in the private sector, we can ask ourselves, does our local schools have needs that we can help meet? Can we partner with schools for mutual benefit? And to the public education establishment, we should also ask hard questions to ensure that we are getting our money's worth out of the heavy tax burden our child/heavy population demands.
The vote on Tuesday shows that to Utahns, public education matters. Let's back that opinion with commitment. Let's back that commitment with respect for the many teachers who deserve it. Let's look as objectively as possible at legislation that seeks to reform public education for the better. But let us also hold legislators accountable if their legislation appears punitive. Our children are too important to be pawns in a political struggle and I for one am committed to let legislators know, that I am watching. But I'm also encouraging as well. We all have a stake in having the best public education possible. We should all commit to help make that happen.