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Education should be our #1 topic in 2016 – edu|FOCUS
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Education should be our #1 topic in 2016

As we go into a new year new challenges will come to the forefront for our evolving American society and education should be our #1 topic in 2016. There will be a Presidential election, amongst others, and the country will enter into yet another year of toxic testing, corporate-led educational reforms, and declining school quality due to continued budget cutbacks and charter school lobbying. I for one, am hoping beyond all hope that education is at the forefront in 2016…where people are able to wrap their heads collectively around the idea that education is the lynch-pin to all of our nation’s pressing issues.

A better American education system can eventually end generational poverty, a key focal point of The Franklin Foundation for Innovation. A better system can enable kids to think critically about the world around them, which in turn will make for better engineers, scientists, educators, technicians, doctors, and even politicians. A better system can reduce the amount of violence in our communities as we teach our kids the finer arts of communication and respectful disagreement. That better system can help create a generation of more well-informed citizenry who will be enabled to make decisions on their futures based on facts, well-formed opinions, research, and experience instead of conjecture, commentary, and pandering.

Such a system can truly be what makes America great again – for all the talk we hear from today’s politicians education has yet to be brought to the forefront of a single presidential debate, or a single gubernatorial debate. I hope that will all change in 2016. Every year, we make resolutions and start the clock anew on the promise that tomorrow will bring a new year washing away the hurt, pain, dirt, and grime of the last and expanding on the blessings hopefully carried over as well. My sincere hope is that 2016 becomes the tipping point for our educational system and a focus on putting it back into the hands of educators and parents with a focus on kids as future citizens instead of profit centers.

As a parent you can make 2016 your year by opting your child out of standardized testing. Not only will you protect your child from testing that provides little more than unnecessary stress and strife, but you’ll send a clear message to your municipal and state governments that you’re aware of the ineffectiveness of testing and are tired of your tax dollars being wasted on an ineffective system of measurement.

As an educator you can continue to stand up and stand out – push your unions to keep up the fight and partner with the communities you work in to help ensure they know what’s really going on out there and where to go for help.

As a policymaker you can make 2016 a banner year for education by holding more honest and public hearings at the federal level to examine what’s truly going on from a state-by-state perspective, and rethinking positions on vouchers, charter school positioning around school districts, and federal appropriations for public schools as a whole.

As a citizen you can get more acquainted with this issue as a whole from local and national sources like our very own blog, and by talking with teachers at local schools who are more than open to sharing their experiences and hopes for a stronger public school infrastructure. Additionally, you should recognize that the greatest long-term threat to our national security is not refugees, gun laws, issues around the ideology of the “American family”, or reproductive rights…it’s education. A generation of citizens unable to manage the state and help it grow is a huge threat, one not to be taken lightly.

Here’s to a great 2016 with Education at the forefront!

Happy New Year from the contributors and staff at edu|FOCUS and all of us from The Franklin Foundation for Innovation!

Endre Walls
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