Something interesting is going on in my small town. Mainly, the school board race is a big deal. Usually I pay attention because of the local Tea Party nuts who keep trying to get on, and I vote to keep them off, not because I’m excited about their opponent. The opponent typically has no background in education and is the incumbent and fine with the status quo, which I’m not. This year is different. For one thing, teachers and people with a background and education in child development and teaching are running. I’ve emailed them asking what will they do for autistic children, and their responses were exciting and included things that need to be implemented in schools. In short, for the first time I’m having to make a decision between two candidates I am excited about.
The state of education in Texas has been abysmal, and I think that Betsy DeVos was the straw that broke the camel’s back for a lot of people. I even thought of running for school board, but I’m horrible at popularity contests and instead am looking at unelected positions. It’s strange, because I was extremely vocal in protest about what little public schools offered my son, however, with that under attack, it’s sparked a resolve to do more to push back against it and improve schools.
Whether this will translate to momentum at the ballot box remains to be seen, and people are horrible at voting in these small election. But they matter!
I’m hoping that one of the people I am excited about can get on the board and make some needed changes and lead the fight against DeVos. Failing that, I’m just glad there’s some qualified competition for once.
I’ve not been able to write here since Betsy DeVos was made the Secretary of Education. While I called my senators daily asking them not to confirm her, given I am represented by Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, they did, and proudly. Now my son is at risk of having less rights than I did growing up. And it just seemed to emphasize the fruitlessness of making any noise until election time. My representatives don’t give a damn about me and ignore me.
And it just emphasized how voiceless I fell right now. Is anyone listening? Does anyone care? Writing about it just felt pointless, another frustration, another way to be ignored and told my thoughts and opinions and things that affect the quality of life for my children and myself do not matter.
Meanwhile, life does continues.
Local elections are coming up. Small beans. But it has to start locally. Currently researching school board candidates and wondering if public schools will ever be accepting places I can feel comfortable sending my son or not. Yet this is where we are. And what is happening is not right.
So I have to get back on the horse and start writing again. I may not be heard, but at least I spoke out.
Yesterday morning the local UU hosted a discussion on how to reach out to people warped by intolerance and help them to become tolerant. It is a vital discussion, especially given the current climate, but the whole time I was there I felt a critical component was missing. While the information was good and vital, such as don’t mock people’s beliefs, try to find the common ground, etc, several people talked about how they just couldn’t have these conversations without them deteriorating. As I was driving home it hit me. It’s easy to talk about calmly having these discussions with people who hold intolerant viewpoints in a safe setting filled with people who agree with you. It’s another thing to hold them when you hear someone spout hatred, especially if you are, like I am in the southern US, surrounded by people who hold these views.
This is only feeding my belief that my government does not care about my voice or what I think and does not represent me. And that elected officials are doing this is extremely concerning to me. It indicates they feel they do not need to answer to the people.
I have major phone anxiety, but I have been calling my representatives, begging them not to confirm Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary. Among many things, she has stated she feels whether to implement IDEA, which is what guarantees children with disabilities and education, should be left to the states. This is done in the so-called name of school choice. Yet private voucher schools don’t have to accept children with disabilities. So what sort of choice is that for families like my own?
While Buddy is not currently in public school, we are hoping to get there with him someday. And the thought that we may not have that option scares me. Further, I actually care about families with children with disabilities who can’t afford/don’t have the training to pursue alternative methods and will be left with nothing if public schools refuse to take their children.
And bluntly, Cruz’s actions are telling me he does not care what I think and about families like mine. This is not the behavior any elected official should adhere to. The people of Texas are paying his salary and for his office. We deserve to be heard.