“It’s our personal responsibility as citizens of this country to do something about educating all children.”
Geoffrey Canada began with this statement early on in his talk. Yes, we’ve all heard about the ridiculous cost to jail people compared to how much it would cost to educate children well. Many of us have seen “Waiting for Superman” sitting in a theater with an audience of tearful others. What’s next is what I want to know. I wanted Geoffrey to give a couple of pointers or some things we could do to act on our public purpose. Maybe we can open our school doors to some of the children languishing in our failing educational system. Maybe we should do as Geoffrey suggests and put the worst teachers into upper middle class neighborhood schools. Maybe some of us aspiring independent school leaders should go share our talents with under-served families.
I am wondering how many of us walked away from this session and from this conference armed and motivated to do something to close the education gap. Will this work still feel urgent enough to act in a few days? weeks? Or will most of us climb back into the safety and comfort of our schools and have passing thoughts about serving the greater good?
I am not trying to sound completely negative, but without a definite charge or call to action, I know how tempting it will be to go home and go on about the usual, hectic business of running our schools exactly the way they are. I know that I will return to Brooklyn Friends School and find out more about our Horizons Program and how we can build upon what we do each summer. This feels like a drop in the bucket compared to the breadth of the issues facing education in our country and around the world. I do know that very drop counts.