Editor's Note: In response to the Senate vote to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, we wanted to share some words of wisdom from the interviews in our special post-election issue of Voices in Urban Education (VUE): "Educational Justice in the Next Four Years." When we spoke with these leaders in the weeks after the election, we didn't know what the new administration would actually do in the realm of public education, but it seemed clear that a vision of equitable, well-supported public schools for all students would be at risk. However, the interviews in this issue of VUE show that the field is ready to: urge states to continue to implement strong public school initiatives under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA); support progressive candidates to run for local office at the school district, city, and state level; commit to protect our schools as safe havens for all students; and pledge to fight any attempts to undermine public education. In the issue's preface, guest editor Keith Catone concluded, "The day after the election, I tweeted 'Activists are born from moral shocks and sense of outrage. Well. Perhaps a bunch of activists were born last night?' Let’s hope that’s the case."
Chicago-based activist and the director of the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools
"What Donald Trump and his administration might do in four years pales in comparison to the kind of resistance that many of the folks that I work with have forged and won. In moments of crisis, we have been able to organize and resist and build, and ultimately turn the tide in our favor."
President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and professor emeritus at Stanford University
"It's unlikely that it will be easy to undo ESSA, despite whatever a new Secretary of Education might want to do. . . . A lot can be done at the state level, and good progress can be made irrespective of what's happening federally."
Professor of practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and former superintendent of Richmond Public Schools in Virginia
"There’s a new kind of courage that leaders are going to have to demonstrate, that goes above and beyond teaching and learning. And we as leaders are going to have to be instrumental in building cultures that provide schools as safe havens."
President and CEO of the Southern Education Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia
"Being organized isn’t just about what you want to see happen. It’s also about who is lifted up and encouraged to run for local office, whether it’s school boards, city councils, mayors, state legislators."