Citation for above image: (CTU plans May Day rally calling for more school funding. (2017, April 28). Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved May 17, 2018, from https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/ctu-plans-may-day-rally-calling-for-more-school-funding/)
I have learned that, across the US, there is unmet need for grassroots organizing around education. The issue of school funding is fairly broad, yet I still had great difficulty finding grassroots organizations that tackled this issue. They certainly exist. However, I should have been able to Google search the phrase “grassroots organizing public school funding” and instantly find a list of over 200 grassroots organizations fighting for more school funding. (If the assignment asked for just 4 grassroots organizations in one city, then even if there were just 4 grassroots organizations related to school funding in each state, I should have been able to find at least 200 grassroots organizations). I argue that it would be a serious challenge to find even fifty. This was surprising, and seems problematic to me. I truly thought that there would be hundreds of grassroots organizations across the whole United States fighting generally for the issue of school funding. Again, the topic I chose was somewhat broad. I was not specifically looking for grassroots organizations that were, for example, seeking to address lack of funding for mental health counseling in public schools; it was just looking for grassroots organization fighting for a general increase in school funding. In other words, in conducting this project, I realized that we need more people to start more grassroots organizations that work with local communities to fight for education reform for their local schools in general. This seems somewhat cliché, but in reality is something I actually came to terms with by doing this project.
Before this semester, I had never taken an education class at Bowdoin. (I had been previously shut out of the introductory education class multiple times, but that is neither here nor there). Before taking this class, I knew education in America was a problem, but I assumed that thousands of people were all over this—that it was already being taken care of. And to a degree this is true. Thousands of people are working tirelessly to fight for education reform in America. However, this does not mean that it is already being taken care of; it means that there needs to be thousands more fighting for education reform. My assumption was, in other words, very off the mark. This assignment made me come to terms with the fact that there can never be enough done in this area; we can always improve our education system. The fact that so many are still displeased with our current education system is only indicative of the fact that the work is not over.
However, one other thing I also realized first-hand was the difference between being displeased and being actively displeased. This is, again, something we have talked about throughout the entire semester, and seems, again, somewhat cliché; however, it was apparent doing this assignment that there are those engaging with great effort to activate people in their communities to voice what they are displeased about. But, there are still so many who do not actively engage at all. There are over 2,000,000 people who live in Houston, but there are a little over a combined 25,000 people who have liked any of the four Houston grassroots organizations I have looked into; that is a little over one percent of the population who have potentially engaged with the issue of school funding in Houston (Houston Population Review, 2018; Parents for Full & Fair Funding of Texas Public Schools (Facebook), 2018; Community Voice for Public Education (Facebook), 2018; Save Texas Schools (Facebook), 2018; Texas Organizing Project (Facebook), 2018). Of course some people are active without liking Facebook pages, but still there has to be more than one percent of people in a major city in America who believe that public schools need more funding so that their children can be provided a better education; however, only about one percent have even cared to stay engaged with the issue by doing the smallest form of activism in just looking up local organizations in one’s community fighting for this issue and just liking their Facebook page. Again, only about one percent of people in all of Houston even committed to doing that smallest form of activism. That is problematic. That is probably the reason why 200 grassroots organizations do not instantly appear on a Google search; there are not enough fully active people in the US tackling this issue. There are those who are working tirelessly, and their work must never be undermined, but the rest of our country needs to step up. About one percent of a major city in America should not just be marginally involved in public school education reform; it should not be a challenge to find grassroots organizations across the country fighting for public school education reform; that should be easy. But the fact that it is not is only an indication of how much more we need to fight to achieve our goals of education reform and how many more people who are out there that we need to reach in order to do so.
Community Voices for Public Education. 2013. Homepage [Facebook page]. Retrieved May 17, 2018, from https://www.facebook.com/houstoncvpe/photos/a.117754208394724.22699.117748551728623/117754211728057/?type=1&theater
Community Voices for Public Education. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2018, http://www.houstoncvpe.org.
Houston Population Review. (2018). World Population Review. Retrieved May 17, 2018, from http://worldpopulationreview.com/us-cities/houston-population/.
Parents for Full & Fair Funding of Texas Public Schools. 2017. Homepage [Facebook page]. Retrieved May 17, 2018, from https://www.facebook.com/Parentsforfullandfairfunding/photos/a.1897427567206579.1073741826.1897321143883888/1921312898151379/?type=1&theater
Parents for Full & Fair Funding of Texas Public Schools. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2018, from http://www.parentsforfullfairfunding.org/index.php/about-pf3/.
Save Texas Schools. 2016. Homepage [Facebook page]. Retrieved May 17, 2018, from https://www.facebook.com/SaveTexasSchools/photos/a.121715354566974.21921.121711224567387/1135534393185060/?type=1&theater
Save Texas Schools. (2013). Retrieved May 17, 2018, from http://savetxschools.org.
Texas Organizing Project. 2017. Homepage [Facebook page]. Retrieved May 17, 2018, from https://www.facebook.com/OrganizeTexas/photos/a.265497970194725.61010.124974587580398/1437519452992565/?type=1&theater
Texas Organizing Project. (2018). Retrieved May 17, 2018, from http://organizetexas.org/