Saturday, March 10, 2018

Let's FIX THE FUND - they told us Casino Revenues would AUGMENT education funding --- let's make it happen!! Tracie Potts - MCCPTA

YOU'VE Got the Power!

Parents and students are so frustrated with schools these days. Kids are struggling through classes. Homework's a nightmare. Classes are too hot or too cold. Buildings are old or too small and there's not enough money to fix them all. And lately incidents of violence have us wondering: are our kids even safe once we put them on the bus? 

MCPS, parents, students - we're all trying but results seems elusive. Or slow. To be honest, it's maddening. 

Sometimes better policies and enforcement helps. But more often than not, the fixes we need require more money. Where does it come from? Casinos! Remember all that casino money that was promised to schools that didn't quite happen? Now Governor Hogan and some lawmaker are proposing what education advocates have been asking for all along: a "lock box" on those funds to make sure they provide additional funding for schools, as promised. 

This kind of effort can easily become mired in politics. HOW to do it. WHEN to do it. Exceptions. What we need is a clear, prompt, focused effort to infuse MILLIONS more into our schools, so we can fix buildings, add staff (and pay them competitively), add and keep programs. Basically, a boost to significantly improve educational opportunities for our kids. How do we do that? FIX THE FUND!

MCCPTA is supporting the Maryland State Education Association's "Fix the Fund" rally on March 19 in Annapolis. We've been told, as recently as a few months ago, that lawmakers are tired of hearing from the same groups and lobbyists but they really do listen when "average Joe parent and their kid" take the time to testify, meet with lawmakers or - in this case - rally in support of education. We need to take full advantage of that and drive maximum participation to this event. 

 If just 5 people from every Montgomery County school joined the rally, that's 1,000 people marching through Annapolis urging our elected officials to "Fix the Fund." Can you get 5 people to go from your school? Plus: if every other Maryland county sent just a fraction of that, we're talking thousands of parents, teachers and students putting pressure on lawmakers to act. That's impressive. That kind of presence speaks volumes. And it makes a difference. 

As frustrating as it is when education gets caught up in politics, never forget - democracy always rises above.  YOU'VE GOT THE POWER! Sometimes we forget just how influential our collective voices can be when we come together to advocate for our kids. 

Last weekend I attended a PTA leadership meeting where a colleagues said her school's having a hard time engaging parents because they're so frustrated when they don't see change happening. They just give up. Stop coming to meetings. Stop speaking out. My heart dropped. I thought: that's exactly the opposite of what we need to do. Don't retreat - MARCH! Get those frustrated parents to hit the streets! It worked in Alabama. It worked for civil rights. It can work for our students in Montgomery County. 

 Marching is just the beginning, but it's an important start. It's not just symbolic. Elected officials know if 1,000 people take time after work on a Monday night to drive 45 minutes to Annapolis with their kids, THEY CARE. And they know when you care, you'll VOTE. That's important to them. Let's tell them what's important to us.

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