Why I Do the Work

When asked why they continue to work in public education, many respondents gave answers around a few key themes.  Below are those themes, and some selected quotes. Download a full list of responses.

  • Parental involvement
    “Community is a huge part of it, especially at Alvarado. It’s astounding to me that we have such a community, considering how difficult the District has made it to have a community school. We feel like we’re in it together and it’s neighborhood-based.”
  • Equity/Fairness/Level playing field/Access/Disparity between public and private
    “I have a passion to make it better so more and more kids have a chance to find their opportunity and take care of us in our old age. I have a lot of anger about adult issue that stop kids from having opportunities. So, I channel my anger to make it better.”
  • Public Education & Democracy
    “I have a tears in the eyes passion for public education. This is where America comes from. I think every kid should have a great public school. We as a country need to make a social contract to make that happen. Every school should be a great school. Public schools are where we make Americans.”
  • Increase advocacy and empowerment of parents/youth
    “I am interested in how educators, parents, and young people can come together to own the education system. We operate under the misguided notion in education that we’re accountable to the State. In fact, we’re responsible to students and parents.”
  • Give Back to the System/Product of public schools
    “It’s who I am. I started schools as an English language learner, didn’t speak any English, my parents both were blue collar, not well-educated, yet for me, the opportunity to serve the same system that provided me with an avenue to be a successful contributing citizen is my passion.”
  • Improve the System/Institutional Change
    “If we can’t build a world-class public school system in SF, then I don’t know where we could build it. If it’s not possible here, it’s not possible anywhere. This community is so idealistic, supportive of kids and willing to pay for kids. It feels like we’re teetering on, “Will we make it work, or not.” I wanted to be part of making it work in this city… build something other people envy.”
  • Quality of life in SF; keep families here
    “To positively effect change in our city, communities, state, and country…it’s a good feeling to know you can make a little bit of a difference in a place and see it. Most of the time you can’t touch it.”
  • Ensure next generation can compete/get jobs
    “Schools should produce viable sustainable adults in the future”
  • Raise awareness about schools
    “Recognizing the need for greater clarity, understanding and appreciation of public education. One of the things that has disturbed me has been seeing kids in a pass fail context as if there really is an alternative. It’s not as if public education can go away and yet the discourse has been in that vein and space. One of the reason I do what I do is this is not the right discourse.”
  • For the sake of the children
    “I love kids, and there’s a need, and I’m able. My husband retired a year and half ago. We’re in debt, but we get by. I felt privileged that I could do this work. I love working with kids. And now here I am.”