The path forward: We have work to do
From the ACSA President
July 11, 2022
We have come to the end of another school year, one that was somewhat more “normal” than what we have experienced since March 2020, but still required educational leaders to navigate the continued challenges of COVID-19, societal issues that infiltrated their way into schools, key staffing shortages, a considerable shortage of bus drivers and ever-changing education reforms. These challenges have led many of us to declare that they are distracting us from the most important work, which is serving students.
Even though public education’s path forward sometimes seems bleak, I am optimistic about the direction it is headed because of the work ACSA and its members are doing on behalf of the more than 6 million students in California. Even with a sense of optimism, we must move at a faster pace with a stronger sense of urgency. ACSA, we have work to do.
Dr. Mary Mcleoud Bethune once stated, “We have a powerful potential in our youth and we must be willing to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends.”
ACSA, we must relentlessly, unwaveringly and unapologetically work to combat oppression, implicit biases and other barriers that continue to plague the academic and social emotional growth of students. ACSA, we have work to do.
Our students cannot afford to wait until our system is ready to have critical conversations about equity and student safety. Failure to discuss equity will only reinforce racial stereotypes and bigotry. And, by not prioritizing the safety of our children, specifically around gun responsibility, many students and staff could be susceptible to other school shootings.
Our students cannot afford to wait until our system is ready to have critical conversations about equity and student safety.
Students and staff should not have to contend with the very cruel reality that they could be victims one day themselves. We have a moral and cultural obligation to stop the senseless killing of our children. To that end, we must have the courage to take on the discomfort of acknowledging that race, racism and educational equity are undeniably and intrinsically linked.
Additionally, we must have the courage to move beyond discomfort and engage in courageous, intentional and collegial conversations to protect and save the lives of our children. Until this happens, inequities and long-lasting trauma will continue to fester and persist.
Our students have shown resilience, even patience; but time is up. Our children cannot afford to wait any longer. ACSA, we have work to do.
It is time to elevate the B.A.R. by being “bold, audacious and relentless” in this work. It is time to mobilize and build a rainbow coalition by which all of us, no matter the creed, race, ethnicity or political affiliation, are in lockstep in pursuit of our students’ future.
The path forward requires substantive actions by courageous people with the authority to act. ACSA, we must act. We have work to do.
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