In addition to July 4th, this month also includes July 30th, National Support Public Education Day.
An often overlooked celebration day, let’s take a moment to dive into why such a day is necessary.
Taking a snapshot of public schools in Solano County, I couldn’t help but pull some data on some of the other school options available to parents. Solano County has about 60,492 students and there are about 5,892,240 statewide. According to the California Department of Education, an estimated 12 public charter schools in Solano County serve about 4,649 students, some with on-site learning and others with independent studies learning. There are an estimated 28 private schools throughout Solano County, as well. Many parents have also decided to homeschool their children, and based on some sources, homeschooling continues to rise.
No doubt, education faces many challenges, from the budget to school safety.
According to EdSource Magazine, teachers are leaving the profession due to a variety of reasons. These include being unhappy and burnt out with the work, concerns about site safety, stress over political warfare, and a combination of factors lingering over from the pandemic; another layer of stress that educators, students, and families had to navigate. Educators thrive in a safe environment just as the students do. Staff shortage also has been problematic for many districts. This shortage leaves the teachers and administrators with the task of covering classes and delivering instruction beyond their capacity. Funding also continues to be an issue, and the starting salary for a teacher is about $39,000 per year, which makes it difficult to lean into the profession.
Whichever education plan and path parents decide to take for their students, showing appreciation is always welcomed by those who serve in what has long been considered a thankless profession. You may not have the luxury of donating your time at the school, but a nice thank you note, a positive email, or even a small gift card to a local coffee shop or bakery goes a long way.
Parents and professional educators want what is best for every student so that they can succeed.
Parents can help support educators by showing appreciation throughout the school year. Give a joyous shout-out or send a positive note to a school employee (the paraeducator, the principal, the custodial, the crossing guards, the superintendent, or anyone else who works at a school). Educational staff members deal with a lot of trauma daily, sometimes including physical and verbal abuse, and they aren’t thanked enough for their daily sacrifice. It is like the weight of every family and the social climate crisis is on their shoulders, and they are constantly trying to balance the world in a space that has become engulfed in confusion. Imagine how wonderful it would be if they could focus on the facilitation of instruction and helping students. They can’t just do their jobs because they are too busy verbally and physically dodging bullets.
Whether your student attends public, private, home, or charter, you can still partner with your student’s school and the community, find ways to keep the line of communication open and participate in helping students navigate success. Get involved and volunteer. Find out what programs are offered. Maybe there is a need for instruments to help support early music programs. See yourself as a potential resource. Meet with your child’s teacher(s) at the beginning of the school year. Set up a time to meet with the site administration and the superintendent. Building positive relationships creates a foundation for what is possible instead of waiting for what could go wrong. When actively engaged, we understand what is taking place in the classrooms and on the school campuses.