The finish line of my campaign is nearing; Election Day is almost here.
It’s a good thing elections are still won by votes cast, not dollars spent. But that could change.
It’s a good thing Jeffco community members and stakeholders value each other in the hard, worthy work of building up all students toward flourishing lives. But that could change.
It’s a good thing Jeffco has a track record of nonpartisan service in the best interests of students. But that has changed, and we need to come together to replace extreme political agendas funded by outside money with grassroots leadership focused on our kids.
We still expect another 100,000 ballots to be cast, and so far it looks like it is going to be close. Very close. Will expensive commercials and fancy AFP flyers drown out hours of effort, miles of walking neighborhoods, and thousands of conversations with voters about the disrespect, wastefulness, and division we’ve seen from our current board majority? Not if we are informed and informing others.
SO VOTE! Then talk to 3 people who know and trust you, so they can be informed voters, too.
Soon Jeffco will know more about the future of its school board and public education in our community. Recently, someone asked me: “If you win by 51% of the vote, what will you do so that in a year Jeffco will be in a better place than today?”
It should be noted, the question was asked with a slight tremor. It was not the first time words betrayed deep emotion. I have met teachers who are considering leaving our district or even the profession they love if things don’t improve. I’ve met parents who are considering selling their homes and finding a place that feels safer, more committed to their children than the recent Jeffco school board firestorm. I’ve heard from charter parents who are fearful the progress made in funding at their schools will evaporate “if the board turns.” People are afraid. Some are preparing for drastic change. It leaves me feeling terribly sad.
Fear and division threaten unity, excellence, and shared service to all Jeffco students and our community. In a school district of strong outcomes, proud partnerships, and honest work in areas still needing improvement, this shouldn’t be.
Jeffco must find a way back to Trust and Trying. It is time to be Unified, not divided. We must Be Daring and Be Kind. We are in this together for the sake of 86,000 students. So it is time for each and every 1 of us to VOTE!
What must Jeffco do differently? We must set aside the broken, bought, polarizing politics of the last two years and elect a Clean Slate for Jeffco Schools. We are ready to serve one sacred mission – the success of all students – and purposefully listen to all community voices. We will bring strong advocacy from differing backgrounds and perspectives, and we will bring humility – an awareness that none of us has all the answers. What we can accomplish is sustainable, positive improvement for our schools and community. Our kids deserve nothing less.
In the years after my first child was born, I became a half-marathoner. After my second was born, I became a marathoner. It was a surprising development for this half-hearted athlete, but it brought a sense of balance and strength. Don’t be too impressed; I’m slow enough that I’d only qualify for the Boston Marathon if I were a 70-year-old woman. Still, I finish the same course on the same day in the same conditions as the best in the world.
Why mention this here? Because what better metaphor for what our children need from us now at our school board. We are nearing the finish line of Election Day, but we should hold a far more important finish line in our heads and hearts. When it comes to our children, they need us to choose lofty goals, and enable them to run the long, hard, joyful race to the finish line of Graduation. We aren’t doing this because of politics, ideology, or personal ambition. We want to see each and every student find her path to a thriving life. We want graduation to be a joyful finish line and an even more hopeful starting line. Today, 86,000 students need our strength so they can be strengthened. They deserve our endurance so they may endure.
So VOTE! (Please fill out your ballot, be informed (cleanslateforjeffco.com), and deliver it to the nearest ballot drop box location; it is too late to mail in your ballot. http://jeffco.us/elections/contact/24-hour-ballot-drop-boxes/, http://jeffco.us/elections/contact/other-ballot-drop-off-locations/)