Election Opportunities

By Reginald Felton

With school back in session, Election Day is around the corner for many school boards. In fact, more than half (53 percent) of school board elections are held on the same day as national or state elections. To those of you on the ballot: Good luck!

The same is true for Congress, which also is back in session. Congressional campaigns are gearing up for the general elections across the country, and grassroots advocacy efforts expect to influence election outcomes as well as legislation. School board members will further demonstrate their commitment to public education by ensuring that their own constituents are well-informed regarding congressional candidates’ positions on issues impacting our public schools.

The primary elections in most states already have determined who will be on the ballot for the general election. School board members and other grassroots advocates cannot assume that their neighbors, friends, or colleagues will take the time to review candidate platforms, attend forums and debates, or participate in political rallies.

Regardless, local residents must continue to maintain K-12 education as a priority issue when assessing all candidates. The quality of our public schools directly impacts real estate values, future employment and incomes, and ultimately the economic stability of our communities.

We understand intellectually that democracy works best when all residents participate, and that no participation is greater than exercising your vote. Yet, we all hear—and sometimes accept—excuses for not voting. We have only ourselves to blame for low voter turnout. Unfortunately, some candidates are elected because they have familiar names, are listed first on the ballot, or are endorsed by well-known organizations. Some of these endorsing organizations have little, if any, interest in ensuring high-quality learning, teaching, and facilities for all students. 

For more information about NSBAC and how to join the Friends of Public Education, go to http://www.nsba.org/advocacy/take-action/national-school-board-action-center-nsbac

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