sylvia_photoDear Democrats, Wishing you a Happy and Prosperous 2015!

I encourage you to come to our next General Meeting on Jan. 14, which will feature a candidates forum and endorsement vote for the Community College Board of Trustees, Seats 1, 3, 5 and 7. All registered Democrats for each seat’s race have been invited to participate, so please spread the word and come with your questions for the candidates. Also at January’s meeting, the membership will vote for our club’s 2015 Executive Board: President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Treasurer, Membership, Corresponding Secretary and Recording Secretary. You can see bios of the Executive Board candidates and the Community College Board candidates in this newsletter.

Now, a few words about education, since that is this month’s theme. I am the product of a public school education (except for a two-year stint at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication). I am very proud of that. I owe my ability to read, write, calculate and think critically to the teachers that imparted their knowledge and wisdom so that I could thrive as a well-rounded citizen. Many of us owe our success, in part, to our school teachers, and to that great, enlightened idea of universal, public education.

So it is with great alarm and sadness that I see public education, in general, and teachers, in particular, be disrespected and disparaged by certain elements in this country who see children as cogs to be exploited for profit, rather than as people to be molded into well-rounded citizens. America cannot thrive, innovate or compete adequately on the world stage without a well-educated citizenry, who can think – not just consume. Teachers should be given the same amount of esteem as doctors, lawyers and business people, and should be paid accordingly. Our public primary and secondary schools must be supported, and uplifted. Children from low- income families deserve a world-class education just as much as those from affluent families. Our public community colleges and universities should be funded well to the point where tuition is either free or inexpensive. And finally, America should not be afraid – or too arrogant – to consider educational methodologies from other countries (for e.g., I recommend reading the book, Finnish Lessons by Dr. Pasi Sahlberg). Let’s start truly treating a quality public education as a right for everyone.

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