Contributing to Public School ReformPolly Murphy
As a christian parent with children in school, how do I contribute to public school reform?
If you’ve had any access to any news and media lately it would have been hard to miss all the conversations happening about COVID and education. We’re in the middle of a pandemic that is highlighting the inequality that has long been resident in our education system. Yet as we look forward in hope, we know that a systemic change of the broader education eco-system can have a nation-changing impact. The Common Good Education team is passionate about seeing this inequality addressed by bringing reform to the public school system. As a parent with children in school already, how could you respond and contribute to this reform taking place?
Here are a few suggestions to consider as you navigate this question:
Send your child/children to a public school
In South Africa there are still fee-paying government schools that provide excellent quality education to learners in the public school system. Without active, economically upwardly mobile parents supporting and contributing to these schools there is the risk that the system itself runs down. By sending your children to government schools they will be exposed to a more realistic and accurate South African context (compared to private schools). You’ll find yourself in a strong position to advocate for those families at the school who are socio-economically vulnerable while still receiving an excellent education for your children. The voices of those who are economically empowered bolstering, supporting and advocating for education in public schools counts for a great deal.
Get involved in the life of your school and join with like-minded parents to pray for, and support, school leaders, staff and learners
As Christians we believe that God responds to our prayers. He is powerful and actively involved in the world. Why not join with like-minded parents to regularly pray for the school, its leaders, staff and learners? Together you could create a WhatApp group that sends prayer needs as things arise at school, or go on monthly prayer walks? Mobilise and pray for your school, and while you’re praying, why not pray for the education system too?
We’d love to point you to this devotional content too, inviting you to engage with the journey into the scriptures through a Biblical lens.
Consider joining your school governing body (SGB)
Being on the SGB is a wonderful opportunity to shape the culture and ethos of a school. Each school needs to have a SGB that is made up of the school leadership team, teacher representatives, parent representatives and learner representatives. This SGB is responsible for ensuring that good, accountable and above-board school governance is taking place. As a member you also have an influence over the Code of Conduct and how this is implemented. Having a Christian voice of restorative justice give input into the Code of Conduct is incredibly necessary and important for at-risk learners in the school.