SOS Steering Committee 2013 – 2015 Vision Statement5

Becky L. Noel Smith – Sorrento, Florida

I came to Save Our Schools out of sheer frustration: I could no longer handle watching the scores of students and master teachers I know simply break under the inhumanity of a corporatized and techno-bureaucratic structure. Although I desperately miss honing my craft of teaching, I see my dedication to SOS as an extension of that process and as an expression of my concern and care for the people who continue to labor inside the school walls.

I bring to SOS energy and passion that is well-balanced by careful thoughtfulness. These attributes couple with my diligent desire to listen to and understand others. The result is that I tend to be good at channelling collaborative energies and desires into productive and meaningful ends.

As I see it, the core principles address the most pressing and obvious issues related to schooling, and yet they also happen to be the same issues that few in politics and in the media are willing to bring to light. This lack of publicity and fair debate only further adds to the alienation that keeps educators, students, and citizens from coming together to work toward the common good. I would like to see SOS ameliorate these interconnected problems in three ways.

First, SOS should be the forum that gives a national voice to the many triumphs, actions, and struggles that are occurring at the local level. I would anticipate this to occur via the website, newsletter, emails, and webinars. Sharing the stories of local struggles will help us all feel a little less lonely in this fight, but it also inevitably rolls into the second necessity. SOS should be a source for the public to learn about the issues related to schooling. This means exposing the insidious back stories of corporate reform, but it also means offering a vision of what schooling ought to look like. America has been entrenched in standardization and NCLB so long I fear many have little idea of what a holistic learning experience looks like.

We must help repaint that vision into the minds of our people so they can help us work toward it. This, too, should occur through the electronic means mentioned above, but we must be persistently dedicated to publicizing all that is really good about public schools. Finally, local and national actions bring people together. We learn from them, they make us feel energized and connected, and they are the very moments that feed into future action and solidarity. At a time when teachers are feeling terribly alienated and beaten down by a system that continues to hate on them, SOS must be the community that organizes and brings people together for annual celebrations of solidarity. After all, this was the very thing that drew 5,000 people into the torrid summer heat that one afternoon in D.C.