Wednesday Sep 08 2010
Rocklin school year starts with promise
By: Donja Garvey, Guest Columnist
The school year has started and the promise is … our children will be educated. But whether it is to our liking is the point in question. Will it be bare bones, fewer teachers and programs, or will we see real benefit from the largesse of the federal grants being floated our way? Will the cuts to our state budget continue to reduce educational dollars for our children’s future? Right now, our school administrators have no answers for us. We know the mantra. It’s September and California, again, has no budget in place. But we’re the fortunate ones here in Rocklin. There are no failing decrepit educational facilities. All of our schools, public and private, charter and independent, are thriving and successful. Test scores being released this month will reveal that Rocklin has no fear of knocking around the bottom. So should we be concerned when we are relatively unaffected? Maybe so. There is definitely a revolutionary movement in education, and it’s picking up steam through the parents. More involved parents working with the best teachers using the best methods supported by the best leadership is the formula for success. I don’t mean micro-managing your teacher’s classroom, or being the most demanding parent on your principal’s list, or the loudest contrary voice at school board meetings. I’m talking about being connected, part of the communication stream between student, parent, teacher, school and the delivery of a great product: education. The product that will ultimately keep prison populations low, find the cure for cancer, and reduce wars and hunger. The big stuff and the little stuff, too. Like feeling secure about your child’s level of progress to the best of their abilities, stretching their untapped talents for the first time, and thinking, this is worth the effort. Because it comes down to the promise we made to our child at birth: you come first. (In the best and purest sense, of course. I tell my own children many times, “Hey, the world does not revolve around you!”) If we operate from our children’s education comes first, the priorities fall into place. We can argue about legislative deal makers and union concerns, count the computers and lament the dearth of technology: all of that is meaningless without our simple act of involvement. Showing up, being willing to do some heavy-lifting. There will be no miracle cure and no super-hero candidate. It will be us. And I’m thinking, that could be good. I like being part of a movement when I know what is going on and have a piece of the decision-making. So here in Rocklin, we won’t need to be tragically heroic to save our child from a deplorable huge urban education system. We just need to join in and be part of this parent movement of hard work and no-excuses with accountability, for gradual and sustained educational improvement for our children, who after all, deserve the best educational product we can provide. Donja Garvey is a former teacher and is deeply involved in education, nonprofits, and foundations. This new monthly column is devoted to educational issues in the Rocklin community. If you are an educational leader or want to hear from one, let Donja Garvey know what is concerning you the most, both locally and nationally. Please keep it brief and send to firstname.lastname@example.org.