Our country seems to be enveloped in negativity. Nothing sells like a scandal and people aren’t really interested in good news. “Newsworthy” has become a bad thing. It means that whatever happened, something went wrong.
It’s no wonder that our public schools have such a bad reputation. The only reports we hear are about low test scores, greedy teachers and unsafe schools. So what motivation do our schools have to succeed?
In Texas — a state where public schools are much maligned — one particular group has taken it upon themselves to spread some good news in order to affect real change. Called Friends of Texas Public Schools (FOTPS), this organization “doesn’t invest energy in education reform but rather in celebrating what’s right with our schools.” They contend that our schools are doing much better than we are led to believe, and that data used to suggest otherwise is largely flawed. Their goal, however, isn’t to simply start an argument over which data to believe. It’s to bring more good news to light. As they say in their Vision Statement, “Optimism breeds success.”
There’s an idea to stand behind.
Admittedly, I don’t know all of the facts on both sides of the argument. But I respect the approach that FOTPS has taken to change the dialogue around public schools. We should shine a light on the good things that our schools are doing. We should celebrate our successes. We shouldn’t just tell our kids that we believe in them, we should show it.