It’s What We Teach Our Kids, Not What We Learned As Kids That Truly Matters

As a nation, we seem collectively focused on our differences. Black or white. Male or female. Red or blue. Naturally born or immigrant. Wealth or lack thereof. We are defined by our differences, and relish pointing out how others lack the homogeneity we seem to think we all seek.

Over at Medium, Eduflack writes this week on the horrific actions at Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina last month, and what that experience should teach us as parents and as a community. I’m honored to be a contributor to Changemaker Education, a new series from Ashoka’s Start Empathy Initiative.

In one of the more personal pieces I’ve written in quite a while, I talk about my own experiences, as a white Catholic, at AME churches, and my hopes for my own children, both of Latino descent. As I write:

As children of color, my son and daughter will have a very different life experience than I have had. They will know just as much of the world in which I was raised as they do of the world from which they were adopted. It may be tough for them to be raised with roots in both communities, but it will define who they are as adults and how they raise their own children.

Ultimately, it is my hope that 20 years from now, one of them will be in the well of an AME church, speaking out on the importance of community and equity. It is my hope that they will speak of how far we have come in two decades to tear down the walls and silos of difference in pursuit of identifying the similarities that define us. And it is my hope that they will mean each and every word they speak.

Please give it a read. And please check out what Ashoka is doing on this important topic.

“Don’t Call Them Dropouts”

Over at GradNation, America’s Promise Alliance is running a blog series on its new report, “Don’t Call Them Dropouts.” The report is an important one, making clear there is no quick-and-dirty explanation as to why so many fail to earn their high school diplomas. More importantly, America’s Promise Alliance has launched a valuable discussion on what the report really means and how we can move its findings and observations into meaningful policy that increases high school graduation rates and pathways to success.

Eduflack was proud that he was asked to contribute to this series, and my post is up this morning. In Driving To a Better Future, I write about how we can better engage students at risk, and how it could have impacted my family.

From today’s GradNation post, in telling the story of my grandfather:

Oh, how times have changed. A high school diploma is now a non-negotiable. My grandfather would not have been able to join the Army without a high school diploma. And the chances that he would be able to buy a house and raise a family where all five of his kids would graduate from high school would be slim. 

I urge you to check out the full post, and spend some time exploring some of the other posts on the GradNation blog. It is well worth the read.