Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Language of the Unheard

When is it okay to protest?


Who gets to say?

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernack has been a focal point of that discussion since he chose not to stand for the national anthem in protest against police brutality.  For the past month, other athletes have joined him in kneeling through the anthem, an action that has prompted anger, accusation and some healthy discussion.

Blogger Erin Hensley Schultz asks:
I wonder when, exactly, is the right time for a protest. I wonder where, exactly, is the right place. . .
Since you said, “We wouldn’t mind peaceful protests,” that’s what Colin Kaepernick did. You actually can’t get much more peaceful than that. He just sat. He didn’t yell. He didn’t hold up a sign. He didn’t throw punches or set fire to anything. He just sat.
America collectively lost its mind over this.
“We wouldn’t mind peaceful protests, just not like that. It was the wrong time and place. It was inappropriate. It was disrespectful. It was distracting.”
People are burning his jersey. Boycotting his team. Using his name as a swear word. He is vilified and called a disgrace. People are FURIOUS. . .
Maybe we’d be okay with it if he protested peacefully…  at home? Alone? With the curtains drawn? In the middle of a Tuesday night? That… that kind of defeats the purpose of a protest.
What should protest look like?

In Charlotte this week thousands took to the streets, in gatherings by some accounts violent and irresponsible, by other accounts peaceful until inflamed by tear gas, rubber bullets and “military styled maneuvers.” 

According to Pastor William Barber II, a leader in the protest:
Anyone who is concerned about violence in Charlotte should note that no one declared a state of emergency when the city’s schools were resegregated, creating a school-to-prison pipeline for thousands of poor African-American children. Few voiced outrage over the damage caused when half a million North Carolinians were denied health insurance because the Legislature refused to expand Medicaid.
When Charlotte’s poor black neighborhoods were afflicted with disproportionate law enforcement during the war on drugs, condemning a whole generation to bad credit and a lack of job opportunities, our elected representatives didn’t call it violence. When immigration officers raid homes and snatch undocumented children from bus stops, they don’t call it violence. But all of these policies and practices do violence to the lives of thousands of Charlotte residents.
As a pastor and an organizer, I do not condone violent protest. But I must join the Charlotte demonstrators in condemning the systemic violence that threatened Mr. Scott’s body long before an officer decided to use lethal force against him. And I must condemn the militarization of Charlotte by the authorities who do not want to address the fundamental concerns of protesters. 
I’ve been watching that situation with sadness and prayer.

I’ve also been watching the protests on Standing Rock Reservation, where our church helped run summer camps for years and a good friend works with Native youth. In May, Lakota teens organized a relay run to deliver a petition against pipeline construction that threatened tribal water supplies and historic burial grounds. Since then, the Lakota have been joined by more Sioux tribes as well as non-Native supporters, in what now is described as the largest gathering of Native Americans in over a century.

The gathering has worked hard to remain peaceful but protestors, by at least some reports, have been arrested, attacked by pipeline company dogs, pepper-sprayed and maced.  

There has been little press coverage but according to former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, in mid-September, 
a federal judge denied the tribe’s request for a temporary injunction to stop construction. U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg, while acknowledging that “the United States’ relationship with the Indian tribes has been contentious and tragic,” ruled that the tribe failed to show that it will be harmed by the construction. This despite claims from the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that areas of cultural and historical significance will be destroyed.
Later that same day, the Department of Justice, Department of the Army, and the Department of the Interior halted construction saying “this case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects.”
This fall, the DOJ, DOA, and DOI will invite tribes to formal government-to-government consultations on how the federal government can better ensure meaningful tribal input on infrastructure projects.
. . . While the move by the administration to involve Native Americans in communication and planning on infrastructure projects is commendable, it is also too little too late for the Sioux in North Dakota.
After all, the halt is only temporary. The matter has been referred back to the Army Corps of Engineers to review its river crossing permit. It only pauses work within a 20-mile radius of Lake Oahe, which will soon be the last missing link with few alternative options now that it is too late for a major reroute. The pipeline is already half-built.
The Sioux have promised to continue their protest through the winter.

The protestors of Charlotte aren’t sure what comes next.

But certainly, we have not seen the end of protest.

Our nation was formed by protest, founded by men who insisted on fair treatment.

We celebrate their determined resistance: the Tea Party, an act of civil disobedience that damaged private property. Tarring and feathering of Customs employees, an act of overt violence. The Stamp Act Riots which left homes and businesses in ruins and planted the seeds of revolution.

Then, as now, there were voices calling for non-violent solutions. There were colonists who urged patience while others, more angry, set patience aside.

Patrick Henry’s famous speech urged violent rebellion:
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House.
Ten years! For just ten years Henry and his colleagues had asked for redress of grievance and been forced to wait for a just response. 
Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. 
Henry’s famous conclusion: 
Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! 
Interesting that the same voices that so fervently praise our founding fathers and cling to their constitution can speak so harshly of their freedom-loving heirs.

In 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from Birmingham jail of the inequities facing African Americans and the long hard struggle to gain the vote:
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."
Two years later, King expanded that idea in a speech about The Other America delivered at Stanford University: 
I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.
This weekend, fifty years later, our first black president led festivities at the dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

Surely the fact of a African American president is a sign of hope, as is the opening of a museum that gives voice to parts of our American story too often left unheard.

Yet we are living in a time of mounting protest, with many voices still unheard and fifty years of progress unraveling.

To quote MLK, “Large segments of white society are still more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity.”

The new museum is in the shadow of the Washington Memorial.  I find myself wondering: why do we celebrate the violent resistance that gave birth to our country while denouncing more peacefl protest from Americans still waiting to live as equal under the law? 

Why do those so eager to uphold the right to bear arms care so little about more essential rights: the right to be heard in our political process. The right to equitable education, fair housing, equal protection under the law.
As long as America postpones justice, we will have protest.

Some will be peaceful.

Some not.

I am looking for candidates – at every level – who understand that racial profiling, cries for “law and order,” promises to “stop and frisk” will not guarantee our safety.

I am looking for candidates who know how to listen before they speak. 

Who can imaginatively enter stories not their own.

And I am looking for ways to stand with, sit with, kneel with those whose voices are still unheard.

This post is part of a series on What's Your Platform 
Beyond the Party Platform July 24, 2016
A Different Way July 31, 2016 
Election Fraud and Rigged Elections, August 10, 2016 
How Long Will the Land Lie Parched? August 21, 2016 
Walls, Welcome, Mercy, Law August 28, 2016
Workers and Their Wages, Sep 3, 2016 
Educating Ourselves On Education, Sep 10, 2016 
Let's Talk, Sep 17, 2016

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Let's Talk

Last week we had old friends for dinner and the conversation turned to my work on redistricting reform. I gave a quick overview then smiled and said “I can go on for hours, but that’s the summary.”

"No, wait," one friend exclaimed. "I have some questions."

Others nodded.

I listened to the questions, then, before answering, waved some universal “stop!” motions toward them. “Please feel free to stop me. If I go too far into the weeds let me know.”

I’ve been thinking about how we speak with each other, not just over dinner, but on Facebook, on Twitter, meetings, debates.

I’ve had some great conversations lately.

At a forum on redistricting, I spoke for forty minutes, then for over an hour listened to and answered tough, very thoughtful questions from an engaged group of citizens working together to strengthen our democracy.

Earlier in the week I had a long lunch with some seasoned advocacy leaders thinking carefully about how to encourage our state politicians to adopt changes not in their own self-interest. We came from very different experiences and backgronds, but listened carefully, shared thoughtfully and came away challenged and enriched.

On-line I’ve benefited greatly from friends who offer thoughtful articles, respectfully explain their own views, gently probe areas of dissent.

Real conversation on topics of importance is essential, difficult, rewarding work.

Too often it goes badly.

I’ve been thinking about the incident at Bethel United Methodist Church in Flint, Michigan last Wednesday.

Not a big event, but instructive.

The church has been involved since last winter in a mobile food pantry focusing on foods rich in calcium, iron and vitamin C to offset the harm from lead-infested water.

Apparently Donald Trump’s campaign staff, planning a visit to Flint, contacted Bethel’s pastor, Reverend Faith Green Timmons, to ask if he could visit the church to find out more about the problems in Flint and how he could help or thank the volunteers.

Reverend Timmons agreed.

The candidate was offered the platform to bring greetings and a word of thanks. When he veered into negative remarks about his opponent, the pastor politely intervened, asking him to respect the terms of the invitation: 
“Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we’ve done for Flint, not make a political speech.” 
To his credit, Mr. Trump said “Oh, ok,” and steered back to more general discussion. Seconds later, several attendees called out questions about the Trump family’s history of housing discrimination and the candidate's description of Black people as “lazy.”

Reverend Timmons again intervened, asking the audience to let Mr. Trump speak: “I brought him here as a guest of my church and you will respect him.”

When asked about the exchange afterward, Trump accused Reverend Timmons of ulterior motives, saying “everybody plays their games” and describing her as “a nervous mess.” Since then, she’s been attacked and ridiculed for trying to "trap" Trump with her own antagonistic agenda.

She offered one short statement then let the matter rest.

They had plans to make it a little more than they originally said, and I said, 'No, you're going to stick to the original plan. And so when he asked to come in to make a statement and the statement began to go beyond what he originally said, I asked him to stick to what he said. You came here to welcome our workers and thank them for what they have done and that's what he stuck to.

When I heard from the Trump camp that they wanted to come by and see that we give out water, we give out foods that help mitigate lead and asked if he could come — all are welcome, It's a public event.
I wanted him to see the best of Flint in the sense that we're an educated congregation.
Some of the statements that I've heard him make about African-Americans, Mexicans and others were degrading. I wanted him to see intelligent people, loving people, caring people, who have done well with the resources that they had. 
I’ve added Reverend Timmons to my list of heroes: a gracious, very well-educated woman attempting to build bridges of understanding in a highly divisive context, calmly holding both powerful and less powerful to the same standard of respect.

We need a continent of courageous voices like hers.

A recent New Yorker article about presidential debates announced: 
Political argument has been having a terrible century. Instead of arguing, everyone from next-door neighbors to members of Congress has got used to doing the I.R.L. equivalent of posting to the comments section: serially fulminating. . . . At campaign events, and even at the nominating Conventions, protesters have tried to silence other people’s speech in the name of the First Amendment. On college campuses, administrators, faculty, and students who express unwelcome political views have been fired and expelled. Even high-school debate has come under sustained attack from students who, refusing to argue the assigned political topic, contest the rules. One in three Americans declines to discuss politics except in private; fewer than one in four ever talk with someone with whom they disagree politically; fewer than one in five have ever attended a problem-solving meeting, even online, with people holding views different from their own. What kind of democracy is that? 
I understand why people shy away from political discussion. We’ve all been trapped in conversations we can’t escape. We express a view; we’re told we’re wrong. We attempt to explain; we're interrupted. We question the other’s logic, or assumptions, or conclusions, and are told, again, we’re wrong. We try to change the subject and find the other person won’t let go.

This can happen in person, or on Facebook or on Twitter.

So we block and defriend and remind ourselves to stay silent.

Yet silence won’t bring us closer to solutions. In silence, the divisions grow sharper. 

The anger burrows deeper.

As citizens grow silent, unreason rules the day.

Last night, talking with an acquaintance I haven’t seen in awhile, I mentioned I’d become involved in politics. She seemed surprised, alarmed, then curious, and asked who I was planning to vote for. We talked a bit, then she said “I’m just – disheartened. Is that the right word? Disheartened.”

That’s the right word.

In 1999 Paul Loeb wrote a book called The Soul of a Citizen, which described the deep discouragement at the heart of our political disengagement: 
Most of us would like to see people treated more justly, the earth taken care of properly, and wise and creative solutions applied to the vast problems of our communities, our coungry, and our planet. But we find it hard to imagine playing a meaningful role in this process. We lack faith in our ability to make a difference. The magnitude of the issues at hand, coupled with this sense of powerlessness, have led far too many of us to conclude that social involvement isn’t worth the cost.
Two years later, Parker Palmer’s book “Healing the Heart of Democracy” spoke of  the broken heart of our democracy: 
If you have ever loved someone or something—a man, a woman, a child, a job, an idea, or an ideal —you probably know what it means to have your heart broken by failure, loss, betrayal, decline, or death. Like most Americans, I love democracy, and like many I know, it breaks my heart when democracy is threatened, from within or without. What else should I feel when “We the People” find our will trumped by corporate money, official corruption, and Orwellian lies? Or when we undermine ourselves by indulging in cheap animosities toward those who disagree with us instead of engaging our differences like grown-ups?
The heartbreak, discouragement and disheartenment Loeb and Parker described grows heavier by the day, as we contemplate a vote for the two most disliked candidates our major parties have ever offered us.

Both Parker and Loeb describe and sympathize with the desire to withdraw in resignation but remind us: this is the world we live in. There is no private sanctuary unaffected by the fruit of political dysfuntion.

Both Loeb and Parker suggest that an essential first step to engagement is reclaiming space for genuine conversation. Loeb offers “the politics of witness”: inviting stories from those whose experiences are different from ours, listening carefully across boundaries. 

Parker talks about opening space for the other, learning how to listen better, creating ongoing conversation with those very different from ourselves.

Our church recently started a series on spiritual disciplines: habits or practices that can help us grow in our faith and experience of God’s presence in our lives.

I find myself wondering if we also need political disciplines: habits or practices that will enable us to serve our country more effectively as citizens and stewards of the history and resources we’ve been given.

The discipline I’m most hungry for is genuine conversation: active interest in the experiences of others, empathetic listening to points of view unlike our own, sincere consideration of other ideas, other approaches, other ways of seeing the world.

And willingness to share our own experiences, our own points of view, without feeling the need to force them on others, to have others validate them, to have the final word.

I am looking for people, like Reverend Timmons, who can say, “wait, this isn’t about blaming someone else.” Who can say “let’s respect the person speaking.”  Who is willing to offer another point of view, even when that offering is stepped on by the one invited to listen and learn.

So, yes, I’m involved in politics.

I’m happy to share my views.

Happy to hear yours.

And praying that together we learn to listen and speak with courage, humility and grace.

This post is part of a series on What's Your Platform 
Beyond the Party Platform July 24, 2016
A Different Way July 31, 2016 
Election Fraud and Rigged Elections, August 10, 2016 
How Long Will the Land Lie Parched? August 21, 2016 
Walls, Welcome, Mercy, Law August 28, 2016
Workers and Their Wages, Sep 3, 2016 
Educating Ourselves On Education, Sep 10, 2016 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Educating Ourselves on Education

I've been wondering: is discernment possible without examining evidence?

When we repeat unfounded, unfactual ideas, who pays the price?

A few weeks ago I helped buy back-to-school supplies for some children I know who live in one of Pennsylvania’s poorest neighborhoods.

The supply list sent home included the obvious school items: pens, pencils, paper, but also paper towels and Kleenex. 
Can more money fix America's schools? NPR, April 25, 2016

Weird, right?

Unless you know that in some schools even simple necessities like those are not available if teachers or parents don't supply them. 

A day or two later I had dinner with an acquaintance who spoke with passion about the money wasted by the Philadelphia schools.

“We keep pouring money into that system and it just disappears.”

Sometimes I bite my tongue.

But if votes are decided and policy put in place on the basis of generalized nonsense, inequity continues.

And grows.

And swallows whole communities.

Per pupil spending in Philadelphia is far less than in the school district my acquaintance’s children attended.

About half as much, in fact.

Apparently high-end wireless microphones for school plays for wealthy children are justifiable expenses, while school libraries and computers for poor children are not.

I’ve written before about Pennsylvania’s inadequate and inequitable school funding.

But the narrative of school failure continues, fed by politicians eager to privatize education. According to a video on Donald Trump’s Issues Page:  
We are rated 28 in the world, the United States, think of it – 28 in the world, and frankly we spend far more per pupil than any other country in the world by far it’s not even a close second.   So here we are, we spend more money and we are rated 28. Third world countries are ahead of us.   We spend far more per pupil than any other country in the world. By far. And if you look at education. Out of thirty countries. We’re last. We’re like 30th. We’re last. So we’re last in education.
Aside from the general incoherence of his statements, there's also a question of fact.

No, we’re not 28. Or 30. Or "last." 

And we don’t spend far more per pupil than any other country.

By one international standard, Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), American kids rank 7th out of 42 countries.

On the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, America’s public school students rank 6th out of 53 systems tested.

On the most widely used, the Program for International Student Assessment, (PISA) 15-year-olds in 65 countries are tested in math, science, and reading. In 2012, the last available year, the US ranked 35th in math, 27th in science, and 24th in reading.
PISA Scores 2012, OECD, focus added by Business Insider, June 6 2015
So, it’s true that American students are not doing as well as we might like. 

But it’s not true that we spend far more than other nations. On per-student spending, the US average was $11,732 per full-time student in 2012 – behind Switzerland ($15,512), Norway ($13,611) and Austria ($12,164).  

Given differences in cost of living, a better comparison might be percent of GDP invested in education. By that measure, the U.S., at 3.6%, doesn’t make it onto the list of top 25 countries.

Trump’s conclusion that school choice would improve scores is contradicted by the statistics: nations with top results have strong, centrally-administered public school systems; consistent, equitable funding; focused attention on pre-K preparation for low-income, at-risk students; high public respect for teachers and schools.

For anyone really interested in understanding the numbers, it’s a complicated story.  But the question of which school systems waste money is far simpler to address for anyone who has even a small interest in the truth. The Commonwealth Foundation offers a website that allows comparison of districts on per pupil spending, money allocated for classroom attendance, special education and more. Here's how Philadelphia and neighboring Lower Merion compare. I've added Reading - one of the most underfunded districts in the country.

A quick interpretation: Lower Merion spends more than twice as much on its students, but a smaller percentage is spent on instruction. In other word, Philly and Reading are putting a higher share of their dollars into the classroom and doing their best to educate high needs children with less than half the funds. 
To put that spending in context: Philadelphia has the highest number of people living in “deep poverty” of any large city in the U.S. In 2015, the threshold for deep poverty was an annual cash income of less than $5,885 for an individual, $7,965 for a single-parent with one child, or $12,125 for a married couple with two kids. Nationally, one in ten children is now living in deep poverty. In Philly, that number is closer to one in four.  

People in deep poverty tend to be transient, living with friends, sometimes sleeping on the floor in a relative’s apartment. They frequently struggle with mental illness. Illiteracy is often a factor. Add in food insecurity. Inadequate child care.

Children in poverty, in addition to unstable home arrangements, often experience trauma from exposure to violence and crime. They are less likely to attend preschool, less likely to be exposed to books, games and enriching experiences in the home or local community. They start school less prepared than their wealthier peers, in systems less able to offer extra help or support.

On Tuesday, our state Supreme Court will hear a two-year-old lawsuit about school funding inequities. Six school districts, seven parents, and two advocacy organizations will again call attention to the vast disparities in resources among Pennsylvania’s schools. The suit describes Pennsylvania educational system as “the nation’s most inequitable and irrational,” with “’gross disparities’ in per-student funding”: 
the Commonwealth’s total investment in a child’s education can range from as little as $9,800 per student in low-wealth school districts to more than $28,400 per student in high-wealth districts. Those disparities exist not because highwealth districts have chosen to invest more in education; low-wealth districts often have property tax rates far higher than wealthier districts.
Nor are those disparities the result of differences in student need; students in lowwealth districts have needs that warrant more, not less, funding. Rather, the disparities exist because the structure of Pennsylvania’s funding scheme prevents low-wealth districts from ever closing the funding gap. 
I’ve heard, more times than I can count, that “throwing money at it” won’t solve the education problem.

There’s a difference between throwing money and investing wisely.  “Investing” is what we call it when we’re thinking of the future. “Throwing money” is what we call it when we simply don’t care.

Does money make a difference?

When you really consider, it seems a ridiculous question. 

Put it another way: 

Should low income children be provided high quality preschool? 


Certainly affluent parents who invest in preschool for their children must see some benefit. The benefit is even greater for children who grow up in households without books, games, educational toys, without educated adults with time and ability to to read and play and teach.

Are smaller classrooms and better-trained teachers helpful?


Small class sizes allow more individual attention, more help to students who need it. Put thirty already-behind kindergarteners kids in a room with no aides and no parent volunteers and they’ll be further behind by the end of the year. Every time.

And the more difficult the neighborhood, the more essential that teachers are experienced and well-trained. Too often the schools where excellent teachers are needed most are the schools that can least afford them.

What about money for school libraries? 

Yes. How will kids with little access to books develop a love of reading?

School nurses and therapists? Of course. Have you ever watched a child in pain, emotional or physical, struggle to focus or stay on task? 

When I dig into numbers, looking for evidence of waste, I see two things:

A pension problem primarily caused by legislators who undercut investment and now are reaping the fruit of that decision: “[i]n reality, based on actuarial need, the state continually hasn't kicked in enough money to cover its growing debt, the single biggest reason for the dire straits the state now faces.” 

The other major money drain is one Donald Trump has promised to expand: funds shifted from public schools to for-profit corporations through loosely regulated charter school schemes. The school where he chose to speak about education last week was a publicly funded, for-profit charter school that received an F on recent evaluations, compared to the surrounding school district, which received a C.

While public schools on average spend more money on instruction, charter schools spend more on administrative costs: high executive salaries and undisclosed profits.

This is true in Ohio, where Trump made his "school choice" speech. And in Pennsylvania, where 
inadequate oversight and a lax law have allowed a significant number of bad players to siphon millions of taxpayer dollars into their pockets, at the expense of Pennsylvania’s public school children.• Nick Trombetta, founder of the state’s largest cyber charter school (PA Cyber) has been indicted on multiple charges and is accused of siphoning more than $8 million from the school.• June Brown went on trial for allegedly defrauding the 4 Philadelphia charter schools that she founded of $6.7 million.• Recently the eighth Philadelphia charter school official pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges. 
Charter management organizations are permitted to spend unlimited taxpayer dollars on advertising, political lobbying, 7-figure CEO salaries and other expenses that are unrelated to educating children. 
I would love to see every child in our state and in our country attend a clean, safe, well-resourced school.

I can’ t make it happen.

What I can do:
  • Refuse to vote for legislators who villainize teachers and public education or who offer privatized “choice” as a solution to “wasted money.”
  • Push back – gently and politely – when people I know suggest we’re “pouring money away” in funding urban schools.
  • Applaud organizations working to inform voters and advocate for adequate, equitable funding. 
  • Pray for sight for the politically blind, wisdom for the willfully foolish and justice for those who without it will never reach their potential or find a way to flourish.

This post is part of a series on What's Your Platform 
Beyond the Party Platform July 24, 2016
A Different Way July 31, 2016 
Election Fraud and Rigged Elections, August 10, 2016 
How Long Will the Land Lie Parched? August 21, 2016 
Walls, Welcome, Mercy, Law August 28, 2016
Workers and Their Wages, Sep 3, 2016