Jesse Solomon, Executive Director, BPE
Believe it or not, it’s almost October. It feels like we just started school, and there are leaves on the ground. Our schools are off to a great start — students and teachers digging into their work together, a nice hum of activity.
As we launch this new school year and open our schools and classrooms to our students, I can’t think of a more critical time for the institution of public schools, and for the work that teachers do every day.
We are living in the shadow of an administration that has essentially declared war on the children and communities that we serve. Our country has struggled to reckon with its legacies of racism and oppression; we have preferred to sweep things under the rug and assign them to the past rather than confront their present day incarnations.
But to open the 2017 school year in the wake of Charlottesville and the pardon of Arpaio and the DACA announcement — to name just a few events — is to welcome our students back in what is an outwardly hostile environment.
Our educators are representatives of our city, state and country, and often some of the representatives that our students and families see the most and get to know best. Our teachers and school leaders are well situated to give a radically different message to our students and our families every single day. The love and care and high expectations that a teacher extends to a student and family are very personal. But, especially at a time like this, each of these interactions, and the accumulation of such actions, is also a political act. It is our way to tell our communities that their country and city and neighborhoods love and care about them, and are dedicated to their success.
This is a time when it matters who you stand with. And who you kneel with. We are proud to stand with our mayor, our superintendent, and together with educators, students and families across our schools, across the city and across the country who are daily putting into action the true spirit of the country.