BCS Advantage Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 14

Shining a Light on Public Education from the Inside By: Brian Gonzales, 2016 BCS Teacher of the Year “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” - Matthew 5:14. Despite anyone’s religious leanings, no one can argue that this phrase has become part of American lexicon and has been used by countless politicians and world leaders for centuries. I believe the beauty of the phrase is in its simplistic and idealistic nature, its ability to make one’s imagination wander to what could be and what has been. My message to fellow educators, the general public, and politicians across the nation is that our public school system is not broken, that its light still has the ability to shine brightly upon our cities, guiding all people to a world of countless possibilities. Our country was founded on some very basic principles, which some citizens were afforded immediately; yet, many others had to fight centuries to gain access to. The ability to have a sound and equal education is one of those principles. All 50 states have included education in their state constitutions. Not only is it in our North Carolina Declaration of Rights, but there is an entire article dedicated to the topic (Article IX). Education is no doubt the light that guides us all, the light that brings our hill into focus. We have worked too hard for too long to build this light. Too many of our citizens have fought for centuries to be allowed its light to shine on them- for us to give up on it now would be a moral and political depravity. Our education system is not broken; what is broken is the dialogue that is used to talk about it. As Richard Whately famously once said, “It is the neglect of timely repair that makes rebuilding necessary.” We must call on all stakeholders to put aside their preconceived notions and perceptions about our education system, to stop the rhetoric and stone throwing, and to work together to do our timely repairs. We must work diligently toward a common goal of continuous improvement and repair of our light and not just when it falls on an election year. We must pay our laborers the best wages, and we must expect the work to be done above code. We must do these things and many others not for ourselves, but for future generations. When those timely repairs and continuous improvements are made, our light will always shine brightest and our hill will never be hidden! 12