A year ago, urged on by my insightful new colleague, Manda Klein, who was born and raised in Texas, I wrote a blog entitled, At Our Core. It praised the bipartisan efforts to discontinue the practice of separating children from their parents and caregivers at our country’s borders.
I wanted to publicize how we came together as a country in a unified national response to say no to this practice. A practice that disregarded children’s fundamental needs and flew in the face of our core beliefs at Teachstone, with our mission of ensuring effective interactions and relationships between children and adults.
Then, fast forward to yesterday, when I was in a meeting discussing a common definition of quality early childhood care and education and blithely agreed that baseline health and safety did not need to be included – too basic, I thought! We needed to raise the bar and elevate the conversation on quality, and in 2019 in the USA, essential health and safety standards should be in place and might distract from the core messages around interactions, teacher compensation and support, family engagement, leadership support, etc.
Then, today hit. I read the Inspector General’s report on conditions at the border. I read Save the Children’s and NAEYC’s powerful statements. Basic health and safety needs of children were once again front and center in my mind (and clearly not every child has access to them). I checked in with my moral compass, my elderly dad, who reminded me of all that he has seen in his lifetime, and who told me he could not believe the conditions in which we are holding children in the USA, today, in 2019. And, he said to me, there is work to do – there are resources to do it. And, I spoke to Manda, who again said, this is too close to home for me, living in Texas. But, in reality, it is too close to home for all of us, and much too close to our Teachstone home where we hold the care and nurturing of children to be sacred.
Please join us and our partners (see this comprehensive list of organizations working on immigration issues affecting children and families) in urging changes to how children and families are treated on our borders.
At Teachstone, we talk to a lot of educators. From coast to coast and around the globe, there’s a common thread that unites them: wanting to be better for their students.
Even when things are tough in education, even in years made even more challenging by the pandemic and its effects on teaching and learning, educators are striving to be their best. That dedication to equitable, ongoing development is what inspires Teachstone’s work. To reach the day when all children are afforded excellent education and care, it’s going to take a systematic, data-driven approach, and we are enthusiastic partners in getting there.
By the end of every summer, the education world erupts with talk about back-to-school. This year was no different. The air was full of optimism. Vaccines had rolled out, many of us took our first vacation in a year and a half, and my inbox was full of the “best back to school” sales. Sadly, as quickly as many schools welcomed children back into the classroom with open arms, they were forced to close again due to increases in COVID-19 infections.
Admins, teachers, students, and families alike may be feeling concerned, cautiously optimistic, pessimistic, or confused. If you’re like me, you might feel all of the above all at once. But, I am taking comfort in knowing that this year, we are armed with more data.
Teachstone applauds the removal of three Confederate statues in Charlottesville, VA. Our organization is headquartered in this Southern city and we have seen first-hand the visceral reaction evoked by these tributes to figureheads of the Lost Cause movement. While the cause of the Confederacy in the Civil War has been lost, the war on racism has not yet been won.
Every state, every district, every school, every teacher faced decisions that they had never anticipated in the last academic year. As the end of the 2020-2021 school year approaches, it’s time to reflect on those decisions, learn from others, and prepare for the fall ahead.