By Laurel Green
I am writing to put some firm, respectful pressure on you as leaders. It’s unfortunate that you do not have more support to foster growth that is needed in our times to handle the changing, powerful student populations that are moving through our schools now. This is a tight spot.
However, there is a courageous stance that I implore you to embrace: Keep your vision centered on the historically underrepresented students (Black, Brown, those with Special Needs) and remember that those who the system has historically centered upon (white privileged, middle/upper class children) will still thrive when the focus turns in the direction of the underrepresented.
It’s a rational stance. What would it take for you to FULLY claim this stance? Everything about your school would be stronger. What if you elicited the thinking of every Indigenous, Black, Latino, Jewish, Asian, LGBTQ, multiple-language speaker, person born outside the USA, and European heritage person, (both individually and collectively), to cultivate access to a TRUE learning environment on your campus? What if language liberation were at the forefront of all communications, and all languages honored? What would you have to face in your own heart and mind to set things right?
The time is NOW to center those whose voices have historically been unheard.
Listen to people from each demographic, ask them how they want the school to look, feel, be like, and sound like. Ask them what they hope to never have to face, handle, or deal with again in the school setting. Then: LISTEN. Then: Gather your village and ACT. Set the tone for your school community. Create social policies on your campus that honor the voices of ALL students. BOLDLY GO WHERE ONLY THE STUDENTS CAN TAKE YOU. Hold out the vision of an inclusive climate. EVERYONE will SOAR. Schools will only foster education for all when all are involved in developing their educational climate and culture.
“Everyone is an equity officer, or no one is an equity officer.” ~Jeff Duncan Andrade.
Laurel Green has been teaching since 1998. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write to us at [email protected].