During that time, astute businessmen, seeing the large amounts of money being spent on public education, seized the opportunity, sensing they could get a piece of the action. The numbers of business people wishing to see public dollars shifted to the private sector have increased exponentially over the years.
Not coincidentally, public schools and teachers have been under tremendous criticism, and as Clayton Christensen made clear in Disrupting Class, that happens at times of significant economic, technological, and social change. But in utilizing well-researched and documented studies, he points out that, “schools have actually been improving,” and then more surprisingly that, “public schools have been required to do the equivalent of rebuilding an airplane in mid-flight…something almost no private enterprise has been able to do.”
In Arizona, virtually every politician says they support public schools when campaigning, but once in office very, very few vote that way. The reasons for not supporting public education may vary, but for many reasons, the present majority of Arizona’s legislators believe a business model for education is in the state’s best interest.
If we are to establish the broad and well-educated middle class needed for our state, really our nation, to expect a vibrant economic future, our legislators must focus on facts, not hyperbole; the well-being of all our people, not focused on the privileged. Our legislators must understand that when one desires profit, part of the formula is controlling costs. When school is a business in search of profit, cost control demands little interest in those most expensive to instruct.
Priority One means we have to become successful with the children who live with all the social problems we know exist; poverty, drugs, alcoholism, and abuse of all kinds.
Really good investors know that if you take short-term profit, sometimes you can lose out on huge long-term gain. (Can you say Apple?) If we are to have Priority One gains that ensure Arizona’s long term success in building a vibrant middle class, we have to invest in schools that teach all kids, especially those who come to us with great disadvantages through no fault of their own.
That, my friends, is common sense, and would be a most wise Choice.
A Call to Common Sense
Our legislators say they care about kids, their actions show they do not. Our legislators say they care about education, their actions show they do not. Our legislators say they are planning for the future, their actions say they do not understand what is necessary to make the future viable.
Now is the time for regular folks uniting behind a banner of common sense to reclaim the dreams and democracy we believed in as children. It is not going to be easy. It will take time, inconvenience, a little less sleep, patience, courage, and listening to each other in the context of civil discourse. But we can change the story. It is a Choice. A real choice.
First Steps-Time to Deliver a Message
A message must be delivered that current legislators, political parties, and lobbyists understand. They understand something is changing when masses of people gather and when they fear being voted out of office.
There are few things more beautiful and powerful than an Arizona Waterfall. Created when individual drops of water flow together, waterfalls shape the world. It is time each of us, like a drop of water, creates an Arizona Waterfall, and chooses to stand for common sense.
So, Step 1: Go to Arizona Waterfall. You’ll find the link to RSVP for a rally as well as links to connect with this effort on Facebook and Twitter. Please register, provide input, and promise, when provided notification via email, to peacefully (but loudly) march and rally. When the counter shows 50,000 of us are registered, then the event will be organized. When the counter hits 100,000 people, the date will be set and two weeks later, Arizona’s elected leaders will get a new understanding of what Arizonans can do when we make a choice to come together. We’ll ask that folks bring their thinking caps and everyone who has one - their phone. This rally will not be typical; not an endless line up of speakers talking and you just passively listening or chanting. The focus will be placed on your creative participation, using technology and small group discussion on the issues you have already brought to the website and brainstormed for the creation of a common Vision. You will vote with your phones (or a neighbors if you don’t have one) and see the results. If the Waterfall develops before the election in November, you’ll have the opportunity to express your preference for which candidates you believe will best represent our adopted Vision. Please understand, I am aware of the magnitude of this undertaking and the help needed to do it right. Rest assured, we will do it right, but we will only do it if there are 100,000 of us committed, not 25K, or 50K, or even 75K. If we are to be a waterfall, we must be a magnificent one.
Step 2: Lead. Every participant will have opportunity for input, specific and philosophical, which will be collected after you register with input presented at the rally. Great communication is needed to do that. So, when you register on meetup.com you can designate whether or not you wish to serve as a leader. There are; (1) Base Leaders who communicate with 20 rally registrants; (2) Team Leaders who communicate with 10 base leaders impacting 200 rally registrants; (3) Group Leaders who communicate with 10 team leaders impacting 2,000 rally registrants; (4) Section Leaders who communicate with 10 group leaders impacting 20,000 rally registrants; and (5) Division Leaders who communicate with 10 section leaders impacting potentially 200,000 rally registrants.
Step 3: Share this message, with your own personal note, with your family, neighbors, and friends on paper, by email, facebook, twitter, by horseback, or pigeon.
Step 4: Volunteer, by signing up on website, two hours a week to help organize the rally, spread the word, and make this real.
Step 5: Just get started by getting more active, by listening, noticing, and talking to others.
There are plenty of powerful ways forward
I totally believe in the unique ability of regular folks to respond to difficult situations once we’re engaged. There are tons of good ideas about ways to have things work better in our state -- they are just being discussed over coffee, in break rooms, and across the dinner tables rather than in the legislature.
Share those ideas with folks just like you and those different from you. Together, let’s make Arizona a better place to live, work, and go to school. I can imagine Independents, Democrats, Republicans, and all the regular folks who see the common ground between the Tea Partyers and the Occupiers showing up to take action to reclaim Arizona in light of the challenges we face.
If we make that Choice, we can develop a Common Vision; we can elect folks who understand the concept “of the people, by the people, for the people” - folks who truly have Common Sense.
Of course, if we don’t wish to make this Choice, if we’re all just talk and people don’t want to see major change, then the Arizona Waterfall will really just be like an afternoon Arizona shower, it’ll come and go, and one will hardly notice when it’s gone.
However, although 80% of us only have 7% of the wealth, we still have 80% of the vote.
I invite you to make a new Choice.
Go to Arizona Waterfall, right now.
Maybe, I’ll see you soon. I have faith we can do this.
Thanks for reading. G9