Principals can pledge to lead their schools to greatness. Teachers can pledge to believe in and encourage their students. Parents can pledge to check homework. Elected officials can pledge to be a positive voice for public education. And interested citizens can pledge to stay informed and support students and educators.
All of these groups – in fact, all Rhode Islanders – are critical to an effort that will begin in earnest this week. To communicate with the public about theprogress Rhode Island has made in education, a broad coalition has joined together to launch “I Pledge,” a campaign designed to generate a positive rallying cry around education and show support for our educators and students.
The campaign, funded by The Rhode Island Foundation and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, centers on a website, educationpledgeri.org, which offers students, parents, families, teachers, administrators, elected officials, and interested citizens a menu of positive, pro-active pledges from which to choose. The campaign kicks off this week with radio spots, 60 second and 30 second commercial television spots, as well as bus advertisements urging all Rhode Islanders to “Make Your Pledge Today at educationpledgeri.org.” Print ads will begin running later this month in local newspapers.
“We were determined to find a way to generate support and momentum for the great efforts that continue to be made around education,” said Rhode Island Foundation President & CEO Neil D. Steinberg, who also co-chairs the state’s Race to the Top Steering Committee.
Co-Chair Colleen Jermain, chief of staff for the Providence school department, added, “Our two Race to the Top Grants totaling $125 million have created many opportunities for enhanced collaboration. Diverse groups are finding more and more common ground. The “I Pledge” campaign shows that everyone working together can make a tremendous difference to Rhode Island education.”
Participants in the campaign include the Office of the Governor, the Rhode Island Association of School Committees, the Rhode Island Association of School Superintendents, the Rhode Island Association of School Principals, the National Education Association Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals, the Rhode Island Foundation, representatives of charter public schools, and the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
State Representative Lisa Tomasso, who serves Coventry and West Greenwich, is also a member of the RI Race to the Top Steering Committee and has been appointed as the grass-roots coordinator to help spread the word about "I Pledge" within the community.
"As a State Representative whose road to the RI State House was inspired by parent engagement and my involvement with Coventry Schools I am keenly aware of the importance of this type of campaign to the success of every student and every classroom teacher in RI, common core and teacher evaluation are not enough on their own," said Tomasso. "Public education is everyone's business. It is our legacy."
Cox Communications, Cumulus, ClearChannel Communications, WPRI-TV, WLNE-TV, WJAR-TV, RIPTA, New England Tech, Duffy & Shanley, and Embolden have donated goods and services to the campaign or worked at greatly reduced cost. No Race to the Top dollars have been used to fund the campaign.
“In order for the state’s education system to achieve great results, to ensure our economic success, we need great educators, great leaders, great administrators, great school committees, and great parents – and great students,” Steinberg said. “Educators need everyone’s support – we are all in this together. “
See the “I Pledge” website and make a pledge at: http://www.educationpledgeri.org.