The 2023 Montana Legislative session is happening right now. Much of what happens in Helena impacts our schools’ support and funding. Schools are unique in that they receive state and national funding but are governed by a local school board of elected community members. The school board decides the curriculum, budgets, levies, and school policies.
Today we share insights about becoming involved in educational policies from teachers, parents, and community members.
“When our stakeholders have a vested interest in political affairs and understand how government operates, it allows for an honest conversation about how we can improve and enhance educational opportunities for students in our community. The question that should drive all of us should be, “is this good for kids” because our students deserve the best.” Burke Allen, CMR History Teacher
Honest conversations are what our community deserves surrounding Education. The Great Falls Public School District finds these conversations essential to its success. GFPS has put together 5 community forums to discuss important education issues this year. We must fill the room with Great Falls community members to work together to make the best educational decisions possible. Getting to know our community school board members and learning about the school district’s challenges allows for educated conversations with local and state leaders. Here is a link to our local school board members: https://www.gfps.k12.mt.us/domain/130
” I used to think politics was for the politicians. I do not think that way anymore. Government officials often have little knowledge outside of their personal experience. When it comes to educational issues, who better to explain the needs of our communities and schools than teachers and parents? I would go even further to say that our representative form of democracy is only effective when we communicate with our representatives. Without hearing from us, our representatives cannot do their jobs and be our voices in government. Being politically involved is what we are all asked to be.” Tom Cubbage, GFEA President
In Montana, we have a coalition of six education groups collaborating in education efforts. They are called the K-12 Vision Group. The K-12 Vision Group recognizes and embraces key advocacy initiatives necessary to achieve its goals. The K-12 Vision Group supports advocacy for the components of a well-rounded education needed to achieve the people of Montana’s’ goal to develop each person’s full potential (this is from the Montana Constitution regarding the purpose of Education).
“Your legislators want and need to hear from you. Remember, if they don’t hear from you, they will listen to their peers and lobbyists.” – Beth Morrison, Community Member
We can get involved in many ways, and the time to begin is now! The Montana legislature is in session only once every two years for 90 days. We can remain informed about bills and hearings by watching the news, logging on to the MT Legislature website at https://leg.mt.gov/ where you can watch committee hearings, house and senate sessions, and find your representatives. They wait for us to call, send emails, and letters about the issues, telling them how to do their jobs. The bottom line is we need to get involved. Our representatives are waiting for us to tell them how to represent us. Let’s not miss this opportunity.
Kids’ Education Yes supports well-funded education efforts and will help develop our children’s full potential. We want your support and communication with our local school board and state legislators. Your local legislators can be found at https://www.leg.mt.gov/map/ by putting in your address. Legislator contact information and pictures are then displayed. Let’s get involved in Great Falls to have meaningful and collaborative communications around our community’s education for all our children.