Carla Hulce, Principal of HCG.
Wednesday’s events that unfolded at the US Capitol are a stark reminder that democracy is difficult to attain and maintain.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union...if the over 330 million of us believe in those first few words of the Preamble then we have some work to do to get a more perfect union.
Change is not some big force that comes out of nowhere, a seismic, earth-shaking ordeal. Change is part of our DNA – we exist as moving and ever-evolving humans. Remember that we each possess within ourselves, the power to transform our lives and of those around us.
WE the People are a multicultural band of brothers and sisters who are more alike than different. If WE are to form a more perfect Union, we have to be responsible for that formation. Those in leadership positions can’t do it for us. WE have to look in the faces of our students and parents who have had a different experience, cross the street to our neighbors who may not look like us, pray like us, or speak the same language. When we see injustice or problems that need solving, only WE the People can address and solve them. As Margaret Mead so famously said, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has”.
So yes, Wednesday was a horrible day in US history but we have brighter days ahead.
I am encouraged by the millions of Americans who have been standing in solidarity with Black people as they march/protest for the eradication of hate. Hate and its effects - racism-- are observed and learned behaviors.
It's not enough to post positive messages on your social media feeds, it’s not enough to attend a march for a day, it’s not enough to feel outraged after reading racist and violence inducing tweets by our President.
Policy changes in the 1890s, 1950s and 60s didn't eradicate hate nor its effects. We still have housing discrimination such that White and BIPOC live in mostly segregated communities from each other. We still have education discrimination such that White and BICOC attend segregated schools that are funded to exacerbate the differences between the haves and have nots. We still have corporations/workplaces/career fields where White and BIPOC work segregated from each other.
Policies alone won't change hearts, minds and souls. Racism is in the air, hearts and minds of many Americans.
HCG has always been and will continue to be a champion for civil rights in education.
We will continue to demand for hiring and retaining teachers, leaders and staff who are highly skilled, diverse and not racists.
We will continue to demand for colleges of education to provide culturally responsive teacher prep and leadership prep programs.
We will continue to demand that if school boards must exist that they be comprised of members of the community committed to eradicating racism.
We will continue to demand that schools engage in multicultural education.
We will continue to demand that schools stop policing the lives of BICOC.
Doing what we've always done will give us the same results. We are at a presuppose where something new must take hold. Rather than expecting Black Americans to champion and bear the burden of eradicating racism. Racism can only be eradicated by the people who cling to it like a baby to its bottle.
A few years ago, I wrote two blogs, both focused on solving this problem we call American K-12 public education. HCG is an organization that is solely focused on the development and support of school and district leaders. Our many decades of work have made it clear to us that leadership preparation needs an overhaul. We can’t keep trying to PD our way to increased academic and social-emotional student achievement. The problems in student achievement are complex and complicated and interconnected with race, class, gender, disability, language, workforce, and housing to name a few. The school door should not be the center of solving society ills but what schools and districts can solve are how teachers and leaders address the linguistic, cognitive and emotional challenges that impede academic success.
As school districts around the country struggle to implement variations of distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever, the public is seeing what those of us who have worked in public education have known for decades, the traditional brick and mortar schools are not providing the high quality education for ALL students, especially disenfranchised students. So, now what?
Over 10 years of research is clear, Principals’ leadership is a critical factor in schools’ success, and school leader preparation programs play a key role in facilitating that success. Excellent school leadership is essential to school quality, educator satisfaction, and teacher effectiveness.
Will this pandemic afford us the opportunity to hit a reset button or hit the nuclear option and outline specific strategies and resources that support the growth of a strong pipeline of principals and leaders who are able to lead teaching and learning in today’s post-COVID-19 schools?
Carla Hulce is the Principal member of HCG.