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Educators and public school supporters, including parents, business leaders, students and friends, showed up at the polls in November in record numbers. That is cause for celebration. For at least a decade now, it feels as though public education has been attacked, underfunded, over-regulated, over-tested and under-appreciated. That has to end.

Public education has been a fundamental part of our nation from the very beginnings of our democracy. There is a moral, economic and political imperative to protect, defend, support and improve public education so that our nation will survive and thrive.

As we head into a new legislative session with many more friends on both sides of the aisles than we’ve had in a number of years, it’s imperative that we keep our collective feet on the pedal. Tip O’Neill, the legendary speaker of the house in the 1980s, used to say, “All politics is local.” Those words still ring true today.

To me, acting locally starts with each of us individually at home. It means that we remind our families, friends and neighbors about the importance of public education and the need for them to support it in every way possible.

Acting locally means sharing positive stories about your local schools. It means having a relationship with your state representatives and senator, making sure they know how you want them to vote on important educational issues.

Sometimes, acting locally also means traveling to Austin to testify, visit your reps and make sure that the people at the Capitol understand that it is their job to represent your community and schools.

Congratulations, educators and supporters! You made a big difference by showing up at the polls. Now, let’s turn that momentum into greater action during the legislative session by acting on the notion that all politics is local.

—Kevin Brown, Ed.D. | TASA Executive Director