Inspiration from Lancaster, PA
By the 1990’s, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was a city in rapid decline. Then, community leaders took charge. In an op-ed article in the New York Times that chronicles the dramatic turnaround in Lancaster, Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas L. Friedman opens with the following observation: “Last week I wrote about why political parties across the industrial world are fracturing from the top down. Today I’m writing about the political units that are working. On this Fourth of July, if you want to be an optimist about America, stand on your head. The country looks so much better from the bottom up.” Chronicling Lancaster’s success story, Friedman explains that volunteer community activists stepped up, checked their partisan political beliefs at the door and focused on fixing the problems plaguing their city. Lancaster’s story should serve as inspiration for the leaders of Ohio’s grassroots movement to help the public take back its public schools.