Schools . . . it's OUR Responsibility!
by Sam Johnson
always been central to ensuring opportunity, and to instilling in all our
citizens the defining American values of freedom, equality, and respect for one
Nation's schools can give students the tools, skills, and knowledge to
participate fully in our democracy, and to succeed in college, career, and
week, let us reaffirm the importance of education and recognize that we all
share in the responsibility to educate our students.”
-- Pres. Barack Obama, "American Education Week"
This week, President
Obama reaffirmed the importance of education both to our nation’s core values
and to our future success by signing a proclamation for "American
Education Week" that runs from November 13-19.
schools across the U. S. are celebrating "American Education Week"
with a variety of activities aimed at highlighting the importance of education
in our society.
Education Week" was initiated after World War I review boards discovered
that about 25 percent of the draftees were illiterate and about 29 percent were
In 1917, the
American Legion, the National Education Association (NEA) and the U.S. Office
of Education discussed launching an educational campaign to correct such deficiencies.
A series of
conferences that began in 1919 led to a plan for an annual nationwide
observance. And two years later in 1921, the first "American Education
Week" observance took place.
To this day,
the American Legion continues to partner with the National Education
Association and U.S. Office of Education to co-sponsor "American Education
Week," and issued the following statement:
Our Responsibility and Duty
"Ninety years of concern and interest will be observed
November 13-19, 2011, during the annual
nationwide observance of 'American
year’s theme is: 'Great
Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility.'
"Since 1921, The American Legion, its Auxiliary and
professional groups have
promoted, with good cause, the idea of visitation to our schools. Though the reasons for their initial activities have
changed, these groups and others continue to
lead the way in seeking
the aid and assistance of every concerned American for better schools.
Education Week is not just for parents and educators, it’s for everyone. With the aid of statistics, it is
quite apparent that many citizens have not
visited their local schools
since their own graduation from high school. Exercise your right and responsibility in 2011 and visit the
school of your choice.
"This year’s theme should remind each of us that we have
a duty and a responsibility to see that our
children are prepared to
take up the roles of citizens and leaders in the years to come."
Our Students Need Us
The theme of this year's celebration,
"Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility,"
spotlights the importance of providing every child in America with a quality
public education, and represents NEA's vision of calling upon ALL Americans to
do their part in making public schools great for every child, so that they can
grow and achieve in the 21st century.
NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, "Public schools are the foundation of our
country's prosperity and strength. America’s students need all of us --
educators, parents, students, elected officials and community leaders --
working together and investing in their schools.
“The path to
the American dream still runs through America’s public schools. 'American
Education Week' is a time to commit ourselves to providing great public schools
so all students can pursue the American Dream.”
What Can We Do?
Okay, so what can
WE do to play our part in making sure our schools are great for every child?
Here are some
• Tell your
local school board members, superintendent, school principals what you would
like to see improved in your school district -- such as more opportunities for
gifted and talented students, programs that support service learning,
curriculum that fosters critical thinking about today's global issues as well
as strategies for dealing with bullies and techniques of conflict resolution,
• Tell Congress to pass an ESEA reauthorization bill that will work
for real students in your schools and classrooms. The Elementary and
Secondary Education Act is up for reauthorization. Let your voice be
heard. Tell senators Conrad and Hoeven and representative Berg that the
one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t allow real students to learn and succeed in
the 21st century.
• Tell Congress to Support the Fix America’s Schools Today (FAST) Act. Students can’t learn to
their potential when they are sitting in deteriorating school buildings with
leaky roofs, peeling paint, broken lights, and inadequate plumbing. The average
school in this country was built more than 40 years ago, and conditions in many
of these structures are a distraction or worse for students.
• Or do something as simple as visit one of your local schools and share
with the administrators, faculty, or staff your observations and thoughts.
There are many
things we can do to fulfill our duty to make sure we have great schools with
great teachers and administrators helping educate our great students!
It really is OUR
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