I had the opportunity to take a trip with a few students last week, and the time in the car was at least as valuable, if not more so, than the event to which we were headed. At one point we got talking about relationships and marriage, and I gave them my big secret to success: keep talking. Talk about the weather, the game, who's getting the kids, what we need for dinner, politics, music, tv shows, favorite colors, the meaning of life... as long as you keep talking, you will grow together, and chances are good you'll make it.
This advice, while intended for the lovey-dovey type of relationship, is true for any. When teachers talk to kids they understand each other more. When administration and teachers and school board members sit down together, there's less fighting. When the community talks about why they're afraid of higher taxes and hear why teachers are afraid of smaller budgets, consensus is possible. Not guaranteed, but possible. Possible is way better than not.
In light of our recent budget woes and the realization that jobs will most likely be lost this year, I find hope in the conversation.