Here’s the thing:
2017 marks my 16th year in education after leaving a career in event planning and public relations. When I think about how I feel about being part of the work of ending education inequity right now, the first thing that comes to mind is this:
Sure, there are some rays of hope. But I still feel like we’re talking about the same problems we were in 2001:
- Black and brown kids still have to struggle the most to succeed.
- Educators of color are still treated like second-class citizens in schools where the student population looks more like them than the white people typically in charge.
- College persistence and post-collegiate success is still the exception not the norm for first generation students of color.
- Everyone wants to find an exceptional school leader yet they are hard to find and hard to keep. The good ones burn out and move into other roles; the bad ones weren’t the right fit in the first place/didn’t get the right support/were not the “right culture fit”.
- We spend more time as a country debating the merits of charters vs. traditional district schools than we do instituting ways for every student to get the support they need.
- Bureaucracy and “adult issues” still get in the way of focusing on students and families.
- We expect schools to be saviors for communities but put little emphasis on effective community partnerships that can support our schools.
- We over-rely on letting people with power and financial influence set our public education agenda while letting the voices of people directly impacted by it take a back seat.
On top of all of that, the 2016 presidential election has felt like our country is moving backwards. Like many others I know, I’ve spent countless hours trying to figure out what my role should be in light of where it seems we’re headed. I’ve even thought of leaving the education sector entirely. But, I keep being pulled back out of both a sense of obligation to future generations and my innate tendency toward wanting to find solutions over complaining about problems.
I wish I were writing you to announce that I’ve found THE solution. I haven’t, but I know one thing for sure:
- All children are able to attend high-quality schools that prepare them for and expose them to a limitless future.
- People committed to social impact are able to pursue their passions with the right support and resources.
- The truth of societal inequities in the United States, including those grounded in racial identity, needs to be embraced and actively reconciled to forge a path toward an equitable society.
If you want to join me on this journey, join my ReformED group (it’s now 100% free!) where I hope to ensure, with like-minded members as partners, that others get informed and empowered to:
- Increase their impact in their current job, a burgeoning side hustle or full on entrepreneurial endeavor, or by taking the steps to find a new employer and role that better aligns with the impact they desire
- Promote empathy across difference, especially to allow marginalized people to have their voices heard and experiences understood
- Live an authentic life through opportunities to speak and share in environments free from repercussions
- Connect with others to form collaborations to promote change.
Take this brief quiz if you want to be sure ReformED is right for you. It’ll give you room to share your contact information. If you’re ready to join the conversation now, go to the Facebook group here and join the mailing list here.
Stay tuned for more details about this evolution and how you can take part!
With you in the struggle,