Why don’t you vote in your local school board elections?
Neighborhood schools, they seem like a fading memory for many neighborhoods. Here in Grand Rapids we have school of choice, leaving many families not choosing their neighborhood school if they can help it. And with school board elections coming up, it seems more imperative than ever for everyone in the neighborhood to vote, so why don’t they?
I can remember, when everyone in my neighborhood went to the same school. We walked four blocks, on our own, home from school and we loved it. Those were the good ole days! Now a days it is hard to find a whole block of children that all go to the same school just a couple blocks away. Parents have a lot of options and don’t want to send their children to a failing school, so again I ask, why don’t they vote in the school board elections?
There are only a few things I can think of:
People have just given up. I feel like this is an on going theme in American Society. There is nothing we can do about the failing schools, so why even vote? It’s easier for many parents to just send their kids to another school than put them in a struggling school and wait out the changes.
Homeowners don’t realize the school affects their home’s value. It seems obvious they would know this, but many may have lived in their homes for a very long time, and no longer have kids in school or never have, and they just don’t think about it. Schools are one of the top reasons new homebuyers purchase homes, voting in the school board elections gives home-sellers the power to make the schools right for those interested in their homes.
There are a lot of renters in the city that could care less or just aren’t registered to vote in the area. In Grand Rapids, many of the renters in the city are college students. Students may not register to vote in an area, either because they know they will be leaving in four years or because they just haven’t gotten around to it. There are also many families that rent, and if they move around a lot, only renting in short terms, they may also not reregister to vote every time they move. The second type of renter should be voting, especially if they have kids in school.
I don’t send my kids to GRPS, why would I vote in the school board elections? In any city with school of choice or parochial schools there are many children living in the GRPS school district that don’t go to GRPS. Their parents don’t feel the need to vote in the election, because their kids don’t go to the public school. For the same reasons in the first and second situations, homeowners are not voting in the public school board elections
Voting is a powerful tool every eligible citizen should take part in. Voting in the public school’s school board election in your community is part of the power citizens of that community have. I know there are obstacles, as listed above, and many people don’t see the obvious reasons for voting in school board elections if they don’t have a child in that school, but if everyone doesn’t vote there is a great possibility public schools are going to continue to decline, along with their neighborhoods, and the cycle will just keep turning.
For information on our upcoming school board election and the project I am a part of to raise awareness of the importance of the school board visit, www.wevoteGR.org.