In Support of the Movement for Black Lives and a Racially Just Education System

The murder of George Floyd has yet again exposed how black people continue to be seen as less than fully human in the dominant culture and institutions of this country—400 years and counting.  The heroic protests in the midst of a life-threatening pandemic call us all to redouble our fight for racial justice not only in our words but in our actions to change the very foundations of our society. We have no choice in this unsettling, uncertain time when we can imagine possible futures of hopeful progress, little change, or greater oppression.

The Partnership for the Future of Learning remains devoted to deepening and intensifying our shared commitment to racial justice. The Partnership committed early on to the realization that public education could not be renovated with schools that were just, centered in their communities, delivered meaningful learning, and enabled students to lead in democracy unless we collectively faced up to past and current harms of racism in its most pernicious, painful forms in this institution and broader American society.

This network strives to live its values, knowing that working to directly tackle racial injustice is central to the stories and resources we co-create and share. The Shared Story community has grown as a place of support and energy to elevate racially just schooling. Partners in California and across the country are centering voices of grassroots communities of color in demanding what is needed as schools move through the pandemic. When we are together, it has been important to name and give voice to racial injustice, even though our experiences may differ, to arrive at shared understanding. And with humility, we have tried to learn from our progress and our mistakes.

We can both honor what we have done, and accept that we have much farther to go to practice what we preach every single day. We can commit to strengthening how we work as a network, and what we do in our work to advance racial justice. These include examining questions such as:

  • How do we authentically shape the network going forward in partnership with more young Black voices, and voices from other marginalized communities in particular Latinx and Indigenous communities?
  • How can our network increase the dollars we mobilize to support Black and Brown community and youth organizing groups, since money is a source of power?
  • What can we sufficiently elevate in work products like the teacher playbook so it strikes at the heart of ensuring schools are safer and sustaining places for Black children and families?
  • How can we more consistently interrogate and educate each other about our views and practices around racial oppression and culturally-rooted white supremacy in our conversations and meetings?

We offer these as shared commitments for all of us who participate in our network to examine and enact together.

Further, this network is home to an abundance of powerful antiracist work that is crucial to the future of learning in the U.S. Here are just some of the statements, resources, reports, and fundraising efforts our network partners have produced in recent days, months, and years. All of this work is the heart of what this network offers in support of the movement for black lives and for true, lived equity in education:

Cyrus Driver
Senior Director of Strategy and Program
National Public Education Support Fund & the Partnership for the Future of Learning