As a lifelong educator in Pittsburgh Public Schools, it hurts my heart to watch our country potentially reverse the advances we’ve made in recent years to uphold diversity and care for the underserved. Backsliding can have disastrous consequences.
We have many reasons to be concerned when people take office who are not sympathetic to the needs of society’s most vulnerable: children and families who live in poverty or are homeless, who go hungry because they lack access to good nutrition, and people with learning challenges, disabilities or special needs.
The reality in Pittsburgh is that many parents are worried about making a living wage and providing their children balanced meals and a decent place to live. They worry about keeping their kids safe in the streets. And the weight of tending to these basic needs keeps many families from focusing on education—even though it’s just as essential in a child’s upbringing.
That’s why public schools are so important. If public education loses its standing with those in charge of this country, and if a groundswell of opposition develops, the children who need public schools the most will suffer.
It sounds trite but it’s true: Children are our country’s future. It’s our job to engage them in learning, to teach them to analyze things and to take chances and make mistakes along the way. We want our children to challenge themselves—and the injustices they encounter. We want them to reflect with open minds, and to appreciate the wonders of this world. They need our guidance to identify opportunities ahead.