What do We Stand for? I was asked this question earlier in the week by a non educator wearing an I Love Nebraska Public Schools shirt. While I had an immediate response in mind related to my faith and family, I paused for a moment and reflected a bit as I considered my occupation. I am a superintendent, but more than my title, I identify myself as an educator. I am a public educator and consider public education to be of critical importance. It is something that I do as a “job,” but I have dedicated myself in this work because I believe public education is central to our society.
Yes, there are additional options beyond public education that have merit. However, I am convicted in my belief that public education offers something different for students. It opens access for all students to come, where all students are welcome and where all can experience the success of learning. It is a place where students can learn to not only to read and write but also become critical thinkers, solve complex problems, obtain the 21st-century learning skills necessary to be productive citizens and develop the ability to be successful in a work environment that our generation has not yet envisioned.
Public education is not a perfect system; there are areas of great strength and areas that need continual improvement. Public educators create a learning environment for our students to maximize their learning potential and open access to future opportunities. It is what public educators do, what we provide, and the responsibility lies in our hands. It is a large responsibility that cannot be dismissed. It isn’t something I take lightly, instead; I feel compelled to continually invest myself in public education and commit resources to create opportunities for our students.
I could continue to go on and write more about this, but I think the most concise and accurate response to the question of the day is I also stand for public education. It is something I can support and advocate for as it makes a difference for our students.