Leading Educators' Statement on the Connection Between Teacher Leadership & Race in America

Members of the Baton Rouge student group The Wave lead a march in response to the death of Alton Sterling and others at the hands of police.

Members of the Baton Rouge student group The Wave lead a march in response to the death of Alton Sterling and others at the hands of police.

We here at Leading Educators are deeply saddened by the violence that took place over the past week in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas. The senseless deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the 5 police officers in Dallas only underscore the deep racial divide that continues to plague our communities and, ultimately, our democracy.

Those of us in the education world see this divide play itself out in schools and classrooms where children who come from economically-disadvantaged communities are often treated like second-class citizens in a system that expects little of them and provides little to them. We know that our students – many of whom are black and brown – receive only a fraction of the resources and opportunities that their more economically-advantaged peers receive.

We are determined to combat racial inequity through action. In our work with teacher leaders in schools across the country, we confront the systemic and individual beliefs and instructional and management practices that disadvantage students – and teachers – of color. Through our curriculum that includes an explicit focus on anti-bias education and the management of adults across race and difference, we strive to create a school environment where all children receive the education, nurturing, and support that they need to learn and excel. It will be our students who will lead the fight for equity into the future.

It is this work – in concert with other organizations that address issues of housing, poverty, policing, and employment – where we will continue to apply our energies in order to dismantle systemic structures of oppression. The path to these goals is long, but the work we do together and the work we each do as individuals in our communities, will make a difference. We hope you will continue to join us in this struggle. 

Jonas Chartock

Chief Executive Officer, Leading Educators