Public education represents one of America’s greatest assets. The strength of our nation has been, and always will be, inextricably linked to the quality of our public schools.
Just as public schools bring us together as a country, they create a collective base of knowledge that is foundational to our democracy. To ensure our nation’s future success, we must cultivate broad public confidence in our system of public education.
Since World War II, the United States has had the largest, most competitive economy in the world. It has been at the forefront of advancements in every sector of the global economy — creating jobs, curing diseases, maintaining peace and international security and conquering new frontiers in science, computing and communications.
The same holds true today. In every industry and every market, the United States remains the leader in innovation and technology, driving our nation and world forward, conquering new challenges and reaching new heights.
As the communication and media landscape has evolved over the past decade, communicating effectively about the impact of our public schools and strength of this critical institution has become a greater challenge amid competing messages and special interests.
Across the nation, the narrative around public education has all too often been one of crisis, unmet needs and inadequate student achievement.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. The ongoing negative rhetoric minimizes the amazing work taking place in our public schools every day.
Recalibrating society’s perception of public education from deficit-centered to success-centered is important for not only those who work in this industry, but also for all who benefit from its very existence.
READ: Colorado Sun opinion columnists.
In many communities, school districts are the largest employer and the economic impact reaches every crevice of the local economy, sustaining businesses, improving property values and developing the workforce for the future.
Schools convene, shelter and support communities in crisis. They are a key source of community pride and social engagement.
Today, an estimated 50.7 million children, approximately 90% of America’s K-12 students, are enrolled in public schools across our nation.
America is a global leader in business and industry because we have an outstanding education system that is committed to advancing all students and providing opportunities that accelerate their growth.
Our students’ success equates to the success of our communities, state, nation and world. To inspire our very best young adults to become teachers, to drive rigorous learning, and to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, we must unite to protect and champion what makes our nation great — our public schools.
We are not affiliated with any campaign, initiative or political organization. We are Colorado educators, advocates and community leaders who believe strongly in the power of our public schools and their role in shaping our future.
It is time to reject the false narrative that our public schools are failing. Together, we must develop a shared focus on the importance of our public schools and the many ways in which they are advancing our children, our communities and our country.
Recognizing the opportunity to drive excellence in our system through collaborative engagement, leaders representing over 30 school districts and education-focused organizations convened in August 2017 to begin developing a statewide communications strategy for public education in Colorado.
We call this initiative Our Schools Our Community. The goal is to work with and support all school districts around the state to tell the powerful human story of public education — not limited by numbers or deficits — but rather to lift up the true worth of public education within our communities. We invite you to learn more by visiting www.ourschoolsourcommunity.org.
- John Ahrens, Board Member, St. Vrain Valley Schools
- Dr. Rob Anderson, Superintendent, Boulder Valley School District
- Douglas Bissonette, Superintendent, Elizabeth School District
- Karen Brofft, Superintendent, Lewis-Palmer School District
- Scott Campbell, Superintendent, Widefield School District
- Dr. Chris Fiedler, Superintendent, 27J Schools
- Chris Gdowski, Superintendent, Adams 12 Five Star Schools
- Dr. Jason Glass, Superintendent, Jeffco Public Schools
- Dr. Don Haddad, Superintendent, St. Vrain Valley Schools
- Dr. Keith Owen, Superintendent, Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8
- Linda Reed, Superintendent, Archuleta School District
- Dr. Scott Siegfried, Superintendent, Cherry Creek School District
- Dr. Sandra Smyser, Superintendent, Poudre School District
- Amanda Stevens, Board Member, Jeffco Public Schools
- Dr. Michael J. Thomas, Superintendent, Colorado Springs School District 11
- Colorado Association of School Executives
- Colorado Rural Schools Alliance
- Colorado School Public Relations Association