Friends, Colleagues, and Neighbors,
Over the last few weeks, a number of people have asked me why I am running for the school board. This question has tumbled around in my head bouncing from the specific to the abstract, from the idealistic to the practical. Over the last few days for some reason, it has started to become more clear and tangible.
I love my children. I want them to have a happy and healthy future. I want them to be successful in life and to be active members of society. I want them prepared for the complexities of living in this society.
Our schools aren’t doing that. Even schools that are considered excellent, like in Columbia County, are severely lacking when it comes to any kind of preparation for life. I know. We have “college and career readiness” programs and curriculum. That isn’t a preparation for life. That is a preparation for the workforce. Life is more than a job.
Life is about being able to consider various viewpoints and make a decision.
Life is about being able to take a stand.
Life is about being comfortable with who you are and be able to celebrate that.
Life is about finding creative solutions to problems.
Life is about finding what you love and pursuing it.
Life is about thinking critically about the world around you.
Life is about caring about your peers, neighbors, community, and world.
Life is about processing information to create new and innovative ideas.
Life is about discovering who you are, what you believe, and what is important.
Our schools aren’t doing that. We are so concerned with test scores, money, being right, and striving to be the best, that we have lost sight of childhood. We demand academic greatness, but at what cost?
Why am I running? Because we can do it better. We can take what we do well and expand it. We can create schools that not only achieve high marks on the measures that are given, but also create meaningful learning environments.
I know this is an odd reference, but in the movie Footloose (the Kevin Bacon one), Reverend Shaw (played by John Lithgow) says, “If we don't start trusting our children... how will they ever become trustworthy?” Well, the same is true about our schools. If we don’t let our children think, analyze, discover, and create….how will they ever be able to think, analyze, discover, and create?
Why am I running? I want my daughters, no, I want all children to not be so consumed with the content of school that they miss out on living. I want all children to be active members of their communities, of society, and of the country. I want all children to be able to think for themselves and be able to made decisions.
My name is Andrew Kemp. The reason I am running for the Columbia County, Georgia School Board for District 3 is to take what we do well, and move it forward so that all students can have the knowledge, skills, and background to live a successful and happy life.
With the exception of a year, I have been a teacher or a student for my entire life. I have taught on many different levels. I have been a middle school teacher (okay, for one semester for student teaching...because of this, I have a profound respect for middle school teachers), high school, undergraduates and graduate students. I have coached soccer in youth leagues and high school. Education is in my blood.