If Educators Want Real Change, We Have to Work Together

Educators have to stand in solidarity so they can once again feel safe enough to dream—and do—big things

Now that the longest, most expensive—and possibly craziest—election season in history has ended, many of us in the education community have paused to reflect on how we can push President Obama to use his influence to steer education policy in a better direction. One of my favorite reflections comes from educator and author Sam Chaltain. A key challenge he issues to those of us who care about public education is to figure out how we can navigate certain tensions—between vision and mission; between the art and science of teaching, etc—to create schools that work for all learners, and can sustain a just, equitable, and democratic society.

In order to actualize this in any systemic way, we need to address an often-overlooked barrier to forward movement and positive change: safety, or rather, the lack thereof. This is the elephant in the room, rarely articulated but viscerally apparent to anyone who understands the lived reality of schools in this social and political climate.

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