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The Struggle-when personal politics do not mesh with school politics

The Struggle is Real!
When personal politics do not mesh with workplace politics.

As a charter school teacher this election opened doors for school choice. This in my school mind is a beautiful thing. Allowing parents to choose the best option for their child is ideal (School choice includes private, online, homeschool, charter, magnet, and traditional schools) My personal struggle comes when my personal politics do not mesh with the politics best for my school. I know that staying civil is the key to success in personal relationships. But, shouldn't we be able to talk about the issues rationally if we are educators forming minds of little people?  What does research say about best practices in this situation?

Last February, Stephen Antczak contributed a piece for Forbes, Next Avenue that reviewed the literature on the subject.  The truth, as seen in our current political environment, can be painful to receive.  Political scientists Shanto Iyengar of Stanford University and Sean J. Westwood of Princeton University found in their study that people are quite willing to "openly decry and actually discriminate" against those of different political parties. Individuals are currently fleeing social media due to this very public issue. Closing our ears to differences is prejudice.  Much like shutting our borders to the very types of immigrants that continually makes our nation great shows great prejudice while being ironic.

Antczak also cited a 2011 Boston study that found both liberal and conservatives were open to "some level of bipartisanship among their friends." The study further showed that qualities such as trustworthiness, dependability and an easygoing manner mattered more to the success of the friendship.  Antczak concluded by saying that he would maintain his bipartisan friendships as they, " alternative portal through which to view certain issues."

What has made our nation great is our diversity, not our homogeneity. We must continue to hone what we have in common and ever so gently smooth the rough edges of our differences.

Suzanne Rogers, M.Ed
District Director of Professional development, AP English teacher, ELA Coach and cradle United Methodist.


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