by Ashley Muscarella
Future Secondary Education History Teacher
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Have you noticed there’s an election coming up in a few days? Will you be voting on November 8th?
You might be like me and eat politics for breakfast. Or maybe you can’t bear to turn on the news anymore because of all the election coverage. Regardless, this upcoming election and politics throughout the year matter in our profession.
What’s your plan to vote? As educators, it is our duty to advocate and vote to support public education. Voting is one way we can make ourselves heard, and how we can make a difference in shaping public policies that impact our students and our classrooms. We need to advocate for the positive changes we want to see inside the classroom. We need to show political figures that educators care about what impacts us and our students.
That all starts with electing officials who support our students, our schools, and us educators. In addition to electing a president, there are down ballot candidates who you need to consider as well. These elections directly impact our schools statewide and locally.
By selecting pro-public education candidates for Congress, state legislatures, school boards, and more, we can choose who will be making key decisions about our classrooms, our students, and us.
The laws and regulations they pass affect the curricula we teach, how we’re evaluated, our benefits and pay, student loan interest rates, access to higher education funding, and the resources allocated to our public schools and universities.
Pro-public education candidates help limit the consequences of high-stakes standardized testing and provide teachers with the autonomy we deserve in the classroom.
As an aspiring educator who sees first-hand the challenges facing our students, it is vital to vote for candidates who will address the social and economic issues that impact our nation’s children.
After all, our kids are the reason that we stay up until 2 a.m. writing lesson plans, only to wake up four hours later to teach them. It’s our responsibility to not just be changemakers for the students in our classrooms, but to be changemakers in society. We must vote for candidates who will do their part to make sure our students’ needs are met and that they can be successful.
Let’s ditch the narrative that young people don’t vote; that we don’t care about policy and legislation. Don’t miss your chance to fight for a quality public education for all students. Send in your absentee ballot, vote early, or make a plan to get to your polling place on Tuesday, November 8th.
P.S.–check out Gabriel Tanglao’s essay describing the issues at stake this election for millennial voters.