Normally, my blog posts are about business and business lessons, and while this post can be applied to the business world, this blog is going to be a bit different.
What I really want to talk about today is something that means a lot to me. That subject is education, and specifically public education in my town, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. You see, Shrewsbury is going through what many towns and school districts are going through around the country and that is rising costs for public education (and other services like Fire and Police) with no way to fund them.
I am very passionate about the schools both because I have two children in the system and because I have a spouse who is an elementary school teacher. While my husband doesn't work in Shrewsbury, I feel for the plight of the modern public educator in all areas.
In my town of Shrewsbury, we have an approximately 4 million dollar deficit between what the school department needs to start restoring services that were cut last year (21 teaching positions, books, and the list goes on and on) and what they have to operate with. There are many well-meaning citizens in town that have opinions on the subject that run the gamut, from; "Talk to the state as it’s the unfunded mandates that are killing us," to "The teachers unions and their salaries are killing us," to "I think teachers should be compensated more like private sector jobs," and "We will never get an override to pass." All valid points, but all points that don't do anything to help solve the issue. I'm really getting sick of hearing rhetoric without a solution stated. Go ahead and raise your point and then tell me what we CAN DO to fix the problem. I had a boss once who would never let us come into his office with a problem unless we also had a solution. Effective, I'd say! Talking about the issues and assigning blame isn't going to help anyone…it kind of reminds me of….Washington…..and as the title of this blog states, it's time to start coloring outside of the lines.
Why do we have to wait to get a bill for increased taxes to start contributing to the school fund? Raise your own taxes. If you care about our children's education NOW, like right now, when the schools need you, then cut a check. If you have faith in the school administration you don't need to question where or how the funds are going to be used. You CAN do something to help and you can make a difference. If you don't care, don't pay attention and don't write a check. Whether you can afford $5 or $5000, I bet if enough people decided to come together and take care of our own we could make a difference. Today I dropped off a $500 check to the gift fund for my children's school so the teachers could write PO's against it for things they need and supplies. It's time to stop complaining and touting big ideas that take forever to implement and to start doing something. Do anything you can. Whether you think it's too small to make a difference or not, the gesture sends a message and helps the cause, whatever your cause is. So I ask you - what are you going to do today to contribute to an actual solution instead of simply complaining about a problem?
PS - If you live near Shrewsbury, I'd love to invite you to an event to benefit the schools at my home: www.ShrewsburyGardenParty.com Let's do something together!