01 December 2014

How Rosa Parks Can Inspire Our Efforts to Transform Education in the United States

One month before our family visited Washington, D.C. for spring break in 2013, a statue of Rosa Parks was unveiled 
at the Capitol, so we were excited to snap this photo when we visited.

Today, on the 59th anniversary of Rosa Parks not giving up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama,  I'm thinking about how Parks' refusal to give up her seat moved the world. She was a leader who made a difference in the Civil Rights Movement because she was passionate and took a stand when she was tired of giving in to the inequities she faced as an African American. I believe there are lessons we can learn and apply to the world of education and the inequities we see as evidenced in both achievement gaps and opportunity gaps

We must be passionate about our work to transform education & act on our passion to improve the opportunities for all students to enjoy high quality learning experiences. Where I work, we often talk about "blowing up the education system." Not in a violent sense, obviously, but definitely with a sense of urgency. We are impatient about the need to change and improve our current educational system. Too many children and teens are bored in school because so many school systems are doing the same thing they've been doing for hundreds of years, and it's often focused on test prep, worksheets, and isolated learning experiences.

We can make a difference together.  Just as Parks was part of a longstanding effort to create change, we must not underestimate our individual and collective efforts to stand up for what we believe is right for children and teens. Last month I was offered the opportunity to blog for Teaching Channel, and what resulted was a post on transforming the teaching profession and honoring teachers as leaders as one strategy for improving the educational system for the students we teach.

We must shine light on bright spots in education. Granted, boring instruction is not happening everywhere, and I'm all for highlighting effective learning experiences. We need these experiences to be more widespread for all students.

 "I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people." 
One of my all time favorite quotes by Rosa Parks