My son is entering his senior year in high school. It doesn’t seem that long ago that he was entering kindergarten. The Des Moines Register actually followed him around on his first day of school and did a cute little article that was accompanied by a picture of him with his hand firmly on his stomach as he did the Pledge of Allegiance. He has been blessed by so many great teachers during his 12 years as a public school kid. I have even had the pleasure of being one of his teachers for the last two years. My kid became one of “My Kids,” when he came into my classroom. Hundreds of kids have been “MY kids,” over the last 25 years.
On Monday he will walk out the door for his last “first day” of public school. On that day he will become one of “Jeff’s Kids,” and “Jeremy’s Kids,” and “Mark’s Kids,” among others. As we start the 2015-2016 school year I think it is worth recognizing that these kids who are walking into the school doors on Monday are “OUR kids.” Isn’t that what public schools are all about? My kid walks in the door with your kid and the kid from down the street and they become “Our kids”. That view of our young people has to extend from the band kids being part of the Johnston High School kids to become the Johnston School’s kids to become an Iowa School kid to being one of “OUR kids”. We owe it to OUR kids to make OUR schools great.
A presidential candidate said this week that he would abolish teacher’s lounges because teacher’s sit around and say, “woe is me.” First, I wasn’t aware that teacher’s lounges were much of a thing these days, but maybe they are in Ohio (I doubt it though). Secondly, I have been around teachers all week this week and I haven’t any “woe is me” talk. I have heard teachers talking about how to help OUR kids learn. I have heard teachers talking about how to make our schools more inviting for OUR kids.
I am sending my kid off one more time to a public school. He reads some of the articles about what legislators say about education and he certainly lives in a house where public school policy is a topic of conversation. While he is aware that schools are under scrutiny and that there is a debate being held around school resources, he just wants to be back at school. And for all of the time that I spend thinking about and writing about public school funding and how we can advocate to our legislators, I am excited for him to be one of “Samantha’s Kids,” and “Jesse’s Kids,” and one of “Hannah’s Kids”. OUR kids are headed back to school and they deserve the best. I trust OUR schools to take care of OUR kids.