We left this morning's Education First forum with several thoughts:
1) We are blessed to live in a community where enough people care about the sanctity of education that nearly 350 individuals will set aside their Saturday morning to engage in a dialogue about how to save school funding. That we live in a place where we can speak freely without fear for our life is not lost during these times of great unrest in the Middle East.
2) The week ahead in Pierre will be pivotal in terms of whether our lawmakers will come together and stop Gov. Daugaard's 10 percent across-the-board cut. The actions and the outcome should be remembered during the next election cycle. If we do not like what is happening, we can address that in the ballot box.
3) To paraphrase Ghandi, we must be the change we wish to see in our small corner of the world. There is power in people and strength in numbers. Our voices — if we raise them — will be heard. If we want to stop the Daugaard train, we must contact the governor as well as our lawmakers and those who represent other districts. We must get our family, friends and colleagues in other communities to do the same.
4) There will be cuts to education ... not if, but what. What will we do to retain a quality curriculum and a well-rounded educational experience so that the children entering our school system today have the same opportunities to succeed as those on their way out to college and beyond?
5) We are at a critical juncture in South Dakota and the rest of this country. What are our priorities? Our responsibilities? Our commitments? What are we willing to sacrifice? What are we willing to contribute?
6) Wed., March 2, is Stand Up for Education Day in Pierre. Supporters of public education plan to rally in the Capitol Rotunda at 7:30 a.m. and then spend the day attending committee hearings and lobbying legislators. Heading to Pierre, writing/emailing the governor and lawmakers, rallying the troops — we can do this. Instead of feeling helpless and as though we have no control, we can take action and assert ourselves; we can demand the representation our children and our state deserve.