I found myself in an oasis of hope today.
With the ongoing economic crisis and states making budget cuts and all the rancor and finger-pointing going on - much of it pointed at education and many negative things being said about teachers and schooling in general, I was so refreshed by being in the midst of a picture of all that's right and hopeful in education right now.
The county Science Olympiad was today, a competition for junior high and high school students. There were literally thousands of people involved. What struck me was all the volunteers and supporters. Many of my colleagues (science professors) were creating and running events - as were other volunteers including students from the college, teacher/coaches and parents were there supporting the kids - as were administrators from many of the schools involved as well as at the college hosting it (dean and VP of instruction) and the county superintendent of education, huge teams of kids from many schools were involved. That too was encouraging, as I too often read in the paper how we are falling behind other countries and as I too often hear from students such things as "Why do we have to learn this?" - not today - not with this group - and it was a BIG group. The kids were engaged and totally jazzed about what they were doing, and those who won (though cool teenagers) were not shy about showing their enthusiasm!
This gives me hope for our future!
Today I saw everything that was right about education - enthusiastic kids, administrators from all levels there all day on a Saturday to cheer the kids on, parents and other family members encouraging the kids and interacting with educators, college professors using their time and energy to make a difference for kids in grades 7-12, and teachers who go above and beyond their classroom responsibilities to take time throughout the year to coach the kids and then to be there all day with them, and I do mean all day. It was an 8am to 5:30pm even on a Saturday. Nobody got paid for this. It was all about the kids. All these people were there volunteering to promote education and science and for the benefit of these kids. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!
Kudos to all involved.
Pictures yet to come (once I get the camera from David).