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Give Voice to New Possibilities and a Fairer Future this GivingTuesday

11/29/2022

Written by Leading Educators Editorial Team

Give Voice to New Possibilities and a Fairer Future this GivingTuesday

At this time of great change, GivingTuesday is a powerful reminder of our interdependence, our shared hopes, and the possibilities that collective action can unearth. GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Since then, it has become a way to elevate groundbreaking work in communities and reject the pull of scarcity that keeps our society from realizing our wildest dreams.

Now, you’re probably waiting for the ask. But this year, we aren’t asking for money. We’re asking you to share your hope for the future we can build together. The future our children deserve. 

Reconnecting With Your Purpose in a Changed World

Earlier this year, 2022 National Teacher of the Year Kurt Russell said in a speech, “The foundation of this country and the greatness of this country begins with a teacher. Teachers are hope personified.” 

Reflecting on 25 years in the classroom, he continued, “I still have hope. I have hope in the millions of students that are courageous and bright that will create a better world. I have hope in the millions of educators who provide love and normalcy to an unkind world. I have hope in the transformative power of education that can move the needle towards equity and justice. This isn’t just my message of healing and prosperity; it is our work together. We are a profession that understands potential. Potential in our students, schools, and community.”

Over the past decade, we’ve seen the power of contagious hope and courage repeatedly in the daily actions, choices, and decisions of brave educators and leaders across the country. They have realized that the challenges we face are too big for one person to solve on their own but that aligned people with a common purpose can make a meaningful difference in our schools and beyond. That’s why we have made it our duty—our calling—to meet educators where they are and help them get where they know they can go for students. That’s the work of uncovering, honoring, and igniting potential. 

So, this GivingTuesday, we ask you to think about your purpose. What is the legacy you want to leave in this world? Beyond the role of teacher, teacher leader, coach, principal, parent, advocate, and so on, there are unique roles we all play in this broader work to change the trajectory of U.S. education that are essential even if you haven’t named them.

Since 2020, our team has thought about these ideas through a social change ecosystem framework created by South Asian American writer, lawyer, strategist, facilitator, and activist Deepa Iyer. Iyer has mapped common roles in social change with equity, liberation, justice, and solidarity all at the core.

Using this framework is a three-step process: (1) identify your values and context in the middle circle; (2) map your roles and those played by your ecosystem; and (3) reflect, observe, and plan. When you get a quiet moment, consider the change you want to see in education and the roles you want to play. 

Dreaming Boldy

The disruptions of the past few years have also forced all of us to seek out new solutions to education’s most stubborn challenge: ensuring all students have school experiences that live up to their full potential no matter what they look like, how much money their family has, or where they live. As a team, we’ve asked ourselves the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of teaching?
  • What do teachers need to support their students in a changing world? 
  • How can we reimagine the teaching profession for greater impact, diversity, and sustainability as the workforce shifts?

The clearest distillation of these answers comes together in our Teaching for Equity action guide, especially in the guiding beliefs. We assert that educational progress will require clear commitments to disrupting racial inequity, deep work to further our understanding of ourselves, and meaningful relationships with others so that we all are collectively ready to reject only surface-level, temporary changes in a system that needs deep structural change.

Over the next few years, as we work to innovate, research, and advocate alongside thousands of educators across the country, we hope you’ll share your answers, challenge our thinking, and hold us accountable to our shared values. 

As we look to the future our students deserve, we’re thankful for your trust in us to carve a path toward fair and just education. Like you, we know strong public schools are the bedrock of strong democracy, and that purpose feels especially important right now. We need each other, and we’ll be there for you no matter what. Take care, and live boldly. 

P.S. If you want to give money…

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a number of incredible grassroots education movements take root in our partner cities. Local advocates are demanding access to literacy, equitable resources in schools, and educator diversity. Just as you support Leading Educators, we encourage you to support some of the organizations below by donating, signing up for their mailing lists, or following them on social media.