As a proud Midwesterner (genus: South Side of Chicago), I’ve watched the gubernatorial recall drama unfold to my north with every emotion you can name: from despair to chagrin to hope to pride.
Why chagrin? Because I know we can—and should—do better.
Why hope? Because the Pollyanna in me still believes that, given the chance, we will recognize and value our common interest and common humanity.
Why pride? Because the ugliness in Wisconsin has illuminated the need for what we do every day at VIVA.
VIVA Teachers exists to elevate the voices of the most valuable public servants for America’s children—teachers. We started VIVA Teachers because we fervently believe that great public servants deserve our respect, which includes increasing their influence in how our public agencies work.
VIVA Teachers is carving a new channel and doing something a little differently than anyone else. We’re giving elected officials a real opportunity to hear from their front line employees. And we’re giving teachers a real opportunity to have impact on all the students in their district or state, not just the ones in their classrooms.
Politics vs. Policy
Politics can be a dirty business. But politics is necessary for a healthy democracy. Policy—the details of how our government delivers on its promises to each American–can’t be held hostage to the business of politics.
That belief is at the core of VIVA Teachers. We want the quality of government service to be separated from the politics of government leadership. That means putting a whole lot more trust in all our public servants.
Each VIVA Teachers Idea Exchange is a new opportunity to focus on our common vision for quality education and to put aside the politics of division that reign today.
More than 3,000 teachers across the United States have already participated in a VIVA Idea Exchange. That means there are at 3,000 other people who believe as I do: We can and will do better.