We live in Michigan, one of the state harder hit (I think) by the recent cuts in education funding. Our school district closed four buildings at the end of last year and the district next door is shutting down entirely to be replaced by a charter school - that means over a thousand kids won’t even have a public school to attend as we go into this next school year.
While much has been said about the need for political reform (and I don’t want to in any way detract from the need to lobby, vote, and sometimes run for office) we have to remember that there is a lot we can all do outside the system.
We have a parent in our school system who volunteers her time (full time) to run a reading room in the school that both reads with kids and loans out books (most of which she provided), a parent who has volunteered to paint the hallways in a school building this summer because the school could not afford to pay to have them painted, parents who volunteer in the after school program, community members who are running a mostly volunteer summer program for the kids, and the list goes on.
It is not that the government should do more or place education at a higher priority, an ultimately we are the government so that would be us. But our children’s education will be what we as a community decide and commit to making it. That may mean volunteering in the schools, in after school program, or in community programs. That may mean starting or running a program (my wife and I are working to raise funds to start a community library to fill some of the hole left by the closing of our neighborhood school [http://www.indiegogo.com/...]) or it may mean supporting any number of literacy, education, or youth activity programs financially.
Ultimately though, we must make sure that while we fight to make sure the government does their part in education that we are also doing what we can do, because our children’s education will be whatever we make of it.