Part 6: The Future of the Yellow School Bus
We’re used to having pupil transportation at the dangling end of a long chain of decisions and inputs largely outside our day-to-day control. First and foremost, this must change. The trends in education and in society more generally are too large and too profound for our profession to sit idly by waiting for direction. If we do that we will most assuredly fail. But let’s start with this notion of trickle-down changes. The new educational expectations and requirements we have introduced as likely for our immediate future will require new transportation methods and techniques. This in turn will require new professional standards for those designing, implementing, and managing the provision of these new services. The new methods and techniques will then need to be operationalized, which in turn will require adaptation by those doing the work. The pupil transportation professional enters early in this trickle-down chain and is integral to the requirements both above and below. This is why we cannot sit idly by and wait for change to happen.
In our near future, pupil transportation will no longer be a disconnected supporting service. As professionals, we must step up and play a more integral, connected role in making this future successful. The transportation professional will be a critical link in the education chain, as will the school bus. Together we have a new role to play. We can no longer afford to be the unwitting but hard-working background player. We must demand a seat at the table of change. We must demand that our voice be heard.
In conclusion, we at DSG believe there will be a few fundamental requirements for our future success in this new, quickly evolving world of K-12 education:
- Recognize that ours is a profession, and not one that is easy or easily dismissed – It is high time that we act the part and demand that we be treated as co-equal professionals with the educators we are committed to support.
- Communicate, then communicate some more – nobody else in your district understands the requirements and what must be done to meet them as well as you do. It’s up to you to educate them. Their future depends on your success.
- Get what you need and commit to change – You need to show the way. Your communication must explain why things must be a certain way, what it will cost, and how to get there. Go all-in and commit yourself. The attitude will be infectious. Then, and this is perhaps the most important point of all, show a small early success.
In many years of working with all of you, we at DSG have recognized this last point and place great emphasis on it. Start small and show a small-scale success. Momentum builds from there. Attitude is infectious, but so is success. Change is coming, and it will be big. Start now and start small. Start with yourself, but in any case, start.