Balance is the key to everything

For many of us, the beginning of a new year starts with reflection. Some of us use this time to set goals and look deeply into our own behaviors and habits. Some will set resolutions and some will choose a motto to set the tone for the New Year. Some think of others and many focus only on changes within themselves. And there are also those of us who just move forward one day at a time.

I am typically a combination of all the above. My work life, my family life and my personal life all intersect in different ways. This year, I am looking for more balance.

Over the past five years, as president of NSEA, I have written more than 40 articles and been interviewed on behalf of the Association dozens—if not hundreds—of times by the media. When the Nebraska Legislature convenes, there are inevitably bills introduced that will have a direct effect on students and educators. We’re just a few short weeks into this legislative session and we’ve already seen some incredibly concerning bills being introduced. During this 90-day session, resources for schools and for students with the most need will be on the chopping block. With every bad bill, I see an increase in interview requests from members of the media.

Often the more controversial the bill, the more it will make headlines. Bad bills that would strip local control from public schools or discriminate against the students who attend them deserve to be covered. Transparency within the lawmaking process is important, but where is the balance? In every interview I do, whether it’s a 5- or 20-minute interview, I take time to talk about the implications of these troublesome bills while also highlighting the truly positive work being done in our public schools all across the state. Occasionally, when I see the final stories on the evening news, hear them on the radio or read the resulting articles in the newspaper, I can’t help but feel some frustration. The 20-minute interview is reduced to a 10-second sound bite or to a one- or two-line quote in a written article. Lost in translation or on the cutting room floor are the positive things happening in our schools.

In my pursuit of balance this year, I’m asking for your help.

Our students, educators and schools need your help to balance out the negative rhetoric that poses a serious threat to schools in every community. Those who are inside our schools and know the truth must speak against the harm such rhetoric is inflicting on students and public education. It is time to say as loudly as possible: This is not right. We need our educators to speak up. We need our neighbors and our church leaders to talk about the positive examples of the good work in our Nebraska public schools. We need to call out the untrue accusations being lobbed at our schools. We need to demand the truth be shared.

If you’ve not already, please sign up to receive the NSEA Capitol Update. We need everyone to be ready to stand up for all children and public education.  To achieve balance, we need many voices to share the truth about what is happening in our schools.