As Tennessee policymakers discuss the issue of school choice Professional Educators of Tennessee (“PET”) is launching a positive, pro-public education initiative to make sure public education is viewed as a valid choice that parents can make for their children. “We are excited to announce a new initiative by PET to help make public education THE CHOICE for those who want the best educational opportunities for their children,” PET Executive Director J.C. Bowman said.
“For too long our local public schools have faced an onslaught of challenges, criticism and funding shortfalls. Worst of all, our daily success stories have been lost in the noise of too much news and too little information,” Bowman noted. “Our public schools are the best choice for the majority of the children in our state and it is time for us to take control of the narrative and tell our own story — because it is a good story to tell.”
“The best and brightest students in our communities should know that our public education system will work for them. The underserved and poor in our communities should know that our public education system can work for them. EVERY parent in our communities should know that they have a role in making sure our public education system works for their children,” Bowman added. “While our teachers will continue to provide instruction in the ‘Three Rs’ — Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic — this initiative will add ‘Three More Rs — Recruit, Restore and Recapture.”
PET’s “MAKE THE CHOICE” initiative will focus on three targets to grow the public education population in each of Tennessee’s 143 school districts:
– KEEP WHAT WE HAVE. We need to make sure that our existing student base feels that they are where they should be and making progress towards their educational goals;
– GROW WHAT WE HAVE. We should ensure that the siblings of the students in schools will choose public education as well. Our best sales teams should be those inside our systems.
– GET SOME MORE. Students who have left our schools thinking the grass is greener somewhere else should be welcomed back. And with many of our communities in Tennessee growing rapidly, we should communicate that the best choice as “school choice” is our public education system in terms of both cost and quality.
“It’s time we went on the offensive rather than continuing to play defense,” Bowman said. “That’s why we are all in for public education and working with parents, community leaders, School Superintendents, School Boards and educators to INCREASE public school enrollment across the state!”