President Lambert urges faculty & staff to advocate for excellence in public schools
In concluding his annual opening of school address, President Lambert asked his colleagues to speak out for greater investment in K-12 education.
Elon University President Leo M. Lambert stressed the importance of the fall election in Alamance County in determining the quality of educational opportunities for children in the Alamance-Burlington School System. His remarks came at the conclusion of the kickoff to Planning Week for the 2014-15 academic year.
Here is the full text of President Lambert's remarks:
Because we are deeply committed to practices of civic engagement and community service, I want to note that this fall we will again have lots of dialogue and debate on campus on important international, national, State, and local issues. And as I usually do, I will note in my address to first-year students about their privilege and responsibility to engage in the democratic process and vote as informed citizens.
In my mind, there are no more important elections than those taking place here this fall in Alamance County for County Commissioner and the Alamance County Board of Education, because I believe the quality of public education for children in grades K-12 hangs in the balance.
Elon University is not an island. The health of the broader community impacts us very directly. We cannot fully realize our potential as an increasingly national university if we cannot attract faculty and staff to come to Elon because our local public schools fall short.
It is also my personal conviction that strong public education is central to solving our society’s most vexing problems: unemployment and underemployment, poverty, and plain old ignorance, which fuels hatred and violence. If national educational attainment declines, every other aspect of society will decline as well.
We must speak up for the fact that quality public education is prerequisite for success in a globally competitive age.
We must articulate forcefully that public education is an investment, not an expense.
We must be clear that we can no longer abide mediocrity and that we expect excellence and innovation in our schools. And excellence demands investment.
We must stand with business leaders who argue that quality public education is key to attracting new business and good jobs.
And so as we close this morning, I humbly ask that we as a community will make these commitments:
Join me in speaking out in the coming months with your friends, neighbors, elected officials, church members, and family about why public education matters.
Speak up if you believe our children deserve decent school buildings and enough equipment and teaching materials for all the children.
Speak up if you think it is time to say “I want better schools for my children and grandchildren, and all children, so that they will have a successful life.”
Promise you will take the time to get to know which candidates for office really intend to commit to excellence and innovation in our schools and develop and execute a plan to move us forward.
Commit to thank a public school teacher this week for their incredible dedication and hard work and commitment to our children despite the lack of respect they too often receive from society.
Promise me you’ll exercise your precious right and privilege to vote this fall.
So let's get on to the work of building a great university. And to making the communities around us—local and global—better for the generations ahead.