I really wanted to come in here all gloom and doom, vomiting my fear all over this page and its readers but, that felt irresponsible. It’s true that I’m more alarmed than I have ever been with the state of both corporate and political powers. At the same time, when I push past my feelings, I realize to behave as if I’ve lost all control is also irresponsible.
The temptation to let my feelings dictate my response to current events is deep. I rely heavily on my guts and my guts are screaming like sirens in a 10 alarm fire! My guts want to pack us up and move us onto the first uninhabited island we can find and start over.
However, the truth is, like many other families, I just can’t afford to pack us up and go anywhere. We’re stuck here and as such, resistance in this new era of alternative facts is what is going to get us through.
Unless you were hiding in a cave (completely reasonable at this point) you know Betsy DeVos was appointed to Secretary of Education. Perhaps you understand what a slap in the face this is to students and educators everywhere.
DeVos was a major player in the spread of charter schools throughout Michigan, most of those schools have recorded students below the state average in reading and math. “Charters’ biggest champions in Michigan were members of the business community and a cadre of billionaires with ties to the religious right,” according to Vice News. Miseducation abounds among these elites, who want to teach creationism, deny climate change, and enforce abstinence as a means of sex education.
Her family’s foundation champions conversion therapy and to top it all off, she spent millions to “win” this appointment.
The conflicts and outright corruption are clear to me, to everyone really. It seems this administration and the party it is wrapped in would like to privatize education. Like healthcare, the current elites in power believe education is also a privilege for those who can afford it. It is likely they will perpetuate their miseducation like a plague on all our kids.
I have thought long and hard about how we resist through this time. As a mother of color, I have long been supplementing my kid’s educations. It is no secret our current system is subpar and all our history books continue to tell our children half truths and outright lies. Introducing role models or having discussions they wont have in school has long been my job as a parent. It is important to me that my kids are getting more than just a white-centric perspective on the world.
We need each other now more than ever. We need to reinforce our villages, reaffirm our communities, and reach out to one another in our times of need. We are not alone, we are not powerless, there are steps we can take:
- Contact your child’s teacher, the principal, and school board to ask how they feel about this appointment. In this way you gauge how vulnerable your public school is.
- Contact your local representatives and let them know you are against this appointment and you expect them to fight for funding and to keep schools in all districts open for our kids if they intend to keep your vote. Do this daily.
- Join the PTA, if you have the time, find out what they are doing to support the school and if you have the time or funds volunteer them to help.
- Start a watchdog collective of parents to monitor funding your district gets, changes to funding and programming, and any shift in the powers that be in your schools. Ask questions, attend town hall or other publicly held meetings regarding your district.
- If you are able and qualified to home-school open your “classroom” to other interested parents who can not stay home to educate. In this way you are strengthening your village and extending it to others.
- Support your local libraries by donating if you can afford to and by visiting and utilizing their programs as often as possible.
I am not sure how this DeVos appointment will or wont effect my family and our schools specifically but, the hardships endured by the children of Michigan to date do not keep me optimistic. We should have been there for them. We should have been paying closer attention. We should be learning from our mistakes.