Friday, May 12, 2017

Visiting the Capital #KidsDeserveIt

*This post was originally posted to the Kids Deserve It blog on March 9, 2017.

My name is Lucy Nolte.  I am in 4th grade at Van Allen Elementary.  My school for the day on February 15th, 2017 was the Iowa State Capitol.   

When you first walk into the building a feeling of amazement surrounds you! It’s like you’re in a palace or a castle. I’ve been to the Captiol a few times before to visit my great-aunt Mary Mascher, a State Representative.  Today the Captiol was busier.  I was in the company of nursing students and people involved in education who were there to express their concerns about changes to the collective bargaining law.

I was surprised by the number of people that came to the Capitol to talk to legislators.  My Nana, Chris Rohret, was one of them.  Together, we attended two education meetings, and spoke to the legislator who represents her district.  

And I am Eric Ewald. I am the Principal at Van Allen Elementary. Coincidentally, I joined Lucy at the Capitol on February 15th.

This was my first time visiting the Capitol as a lobbyist. And Lucy is right, it is an amazing place. Then when you think about the far-reaching implications of what transpires, the sense of astonishment is heightened.

Here we are with State Representatives Vicki Lensing and Mary Mascher
This is so important. In reality very few people vote, and even fewer people reach-out to their elected officials to advocate for what they want. We can’t be silent. We have to make sure that our voices are heard.

“If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” David Lyons

I, Lucy, learned that making laws takes time, effort, and patience.

This is a process. Change doesn’t always occur instantaneously. Don’t get frustrated. That won’t help. Don’t give-up. That won’t solve anything. Don’t think that your voice and/or vote doesn’t matter. It does!

“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the blow that did it - but all that had gone before.” Jacob August Riis

That’s politics. And that’s life.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

One of the concerns I, Lucy, had about education was that teachers might not have as much input about their jobs (like salary and health care through collective bargaining). Well, not anymore, the only thing that they can possibly talk about, in terms of bargaining, is their salary.  These laws affect education, teachers, and students. We want teachers to be the best they can be.  

The topics on this day’s agenda are far-reaching, and they have a direct impact on me as an educator, as a boss, and as a father. They have a direct impact on Lucy as a student, as a learner, and who knows maybe as a future educator, too. These are some scary things that are being discussed regarding public education. A lack of school funding, striping public workers of their collective bargaining rights, and the possibility of issuing school vouchers are a sampling of the issues that have us, educators, feeling a little uneasy.

I, Lucy, want to be a teacher (grades 2nd-5th)  because I like helping people and I love kids.  I’m most excited to teach kids about writing, reading and acting with empathy towards one another no matter what color your skin is.  

Nobody goes into education for the money or the benefits. We go into education because we love kids. We go into education because we want to make a difference. And we do make a difference. We make a difference in the lives of kids each and every day. But that’s no longer enough. We’re at a crossroads, where it has become critical for us to step outside of our comfort zones. We have to advocate for ourselves. We have to advocate for our profession. We have to advocate for our kids.

Spending a day with legislators at the state Capitol was a fun way to learn about making laws.  
Some of the laws that are made have to do with teachers and education. Some laws do different things to harm or help education. We want our teachers to be the best they can be.

The day reinforced the fact that we, as educators, need to advocate on our behalf. Pick-up the phone. Share a post or a Tweet. Write a blog or a letter. We all have a voice. And we have an innumerable amount of tools at our disposal to ensure that our voices are heard. There are no excuses for remaining silent. Too much is at stake. #KidsDeserveIt

No comments:

Post a Comment