Voyager November 2020

November 12, 2020

Lilla Watson

If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up in mine, we can work together.

Dear Friends,

What an incredible, roller-coaster of a week we just went through. From record voter turnout to a multi-day wait before knowing who won the presidential election to the history-making moment of our first ever female, Black, and South Asian-American Vice President-elect.

As I watched these events unfold, I couldn’t help but acknowledge that no matter where the final votes landed, we wouldn’t magically find ourselves standing inside a new paradigm for education. The learning ecosystem we envision enabling the next generation of young people to tackle the incredibly complex challenges our world is facing will not suddenly appear.

Today, just like the weeks (and months and years and decades) preceding the 2020 presidential election, we live in a world where young people are tasked with navigating an education system that is neither equitable, flexible, nor adaptable. And, no single event—no matter how big, it seems (e.g. the COVID-19 pandemic)—has the power to change this reality single handedly.

Such a monumental transformation will require a nationwide commitment to building a new education system that will support the full diversity of young people. And, empower them to create and navigate their own learning journeys that lead to a lifelong love for learning and a fulfilling life.

This will require bringing together public-sector and private-sector, conservative and liberal, and in-school and out-of-school leaders who are committed to building out the learner-centered field—making equitable access to quality learning and meaningful outcomes the norm.

What will make or break our ability to transform education in the US will be our ability to come together and talk about things civilly without burying issues like equity and social justice. It will require the inclusion of those who are too often excluded from such work (e.g. BIPOC and young people). And, it will require patience, honest conversations, generosity of spirit, and shared commitment to building an equitable, learner-centered education system.

On the other side of those conversations can exist a unified push toward something better for everyone, regardless of background or circumstance. It is exactly those kinds of conversations amongst an ideologically diverse group of leaders that led to Education Reimagined’s launch in 2015 and the learner-centered vision that guides our work. 

If it happened five years ago, it can most certainly happen today. But, we will all need to be willing to set aside our vested interests in what has been in honor of something new. I look forward to working with you in making that future come true because the only way we transform the lives of the next generation is by coming together in service of a vision much bigger than ourselves.

With Gratitude,

Kelly

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