Local Advocacy: Part 1
When you think of "public education advocacy," you probably picture the Capitol building in Austin. But did you know that your voice can be just as effective, if not more, by staying right where you are?
Pastors for Texas Children engages people of faith to be advocates for public schools and public school children. Many times we can make a difference by traveling to Austin and meeting with representatives and senators, or testifying in front of education committees. But just like with all politics, the more localized the elected position is, the more direct their impact can be on individuals in the community.
School board members and district administrators have tremendous impact on our children. And they certainly carry the burden of that impact.
Care for our superintendents, administrators and school board members is a powerful way to exercise our voice as ministry-advocates. Often the relationship nurtured there leads us from ministry to advocacy, or the other way around. When we show our dedication through advocacy, it is a witness also to our ministry.
A pastor who is a powerful PTC leader recently demonstrated this type of advocacy to her school board for her superintendent. It beautifully blends the natural way that ministry leads to advocacy.
"As a follower of Jesus Christ and a pastor in our community, I seek to help people find the good in this world, and especially to find the good in their fellow humans. As many can relate, I have experienced a deep sadness in the past couple of years, as it seems that our society is more and more drawn to seek out and magnify that which is not so good. I have seen much harm done toward members of this Board and Dr. xxx, especially this past year - harm caused by anger at the shortcomings of our school district.
"There is no doubt that the xISD needs to improve. I absolutely believe that it will. We have many dedicated teachers and administrators who want our kids to learn and be successful.
"My experience and observation of Dr. xxx is that he is a man of integrity & honesty. He has exhibited the ability and willingness to exercise leadership, even when it is controversial.
"This is one example, not only of success, but of the type of leadership decisions that were required to achieve that success. Given the short amount of time Dr. xxx has been here, I feel that our district will benefit from allowing him more time to make the kind of adjustments that are necessary to see this kind of improvement across our district."
One superintendent shared that in the last 18 months, because of managing school during a pandemic, he has not been able to fully do what he was trained and called to do, which is oversee the education of students. It's very stressful when you have to spend most of your time managing a virus when you'd rather be building your educational programs.
PTC recently received an email from the spouse of another superintendent, sharing how difficult this season has been for both of them.
Pastors, faith leaders, parents... we can all relate to this. We have all had to navigate this season and make the best decisions we know how, knowing that we won't please everyone.
This is a good time to reach out to your superintendent and offer your support. Your support is more than just being a cheerleader. You are offering the weight of your prayers, and your willingness to use your voice in advocacy if presented with the opportunity. Advocating on behalf of our good leaders is advocacy for our children.