It has been heartbreaking to watch the events of the last 24-hours in Baltimore. Many of you met us there last spring for our conference where we learned, strategized, and prayed together on our collective work toward education equity and social justice. Below we are sharing an excerpt from an article posted today on The Huffington Post Education blog by Richard Green called “Supporting Students and Teachers in Baltimore”. As our thoughts and prayers go to our All Our Children members in Baltimore today (as well as all of those suffering or in fear) we are reminded at the urgency and importance of our work.
By Richard Green
This week, other Baltimoreans and I stood aghast, first at the confused and horrifying accounts of the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, then at the images of young adults looting stores, setting businesses afire and attacking police officers, in contrast to the peaceful protests over the weekend. Today, schools are closed and our city is attempting to comprehend how and why this week’s events unfolded as they did.
This week’s violence emerged from the tragedy and injustice of Freddie Gray’s death, but it’s also a story of generational poverty, inadequate social mobility, inequitable educational opportunities and a sense of oppression by the criminal justice system. These issues—and the discontent, hopelessness, and frustration that accompany them—are deeply felt in classrooms across Baltimore. For far too many students, the promise of equal opportunity doesn’t feel real. It’s a painful and dangerous reality, and while it in no way excuses the violence of the past days, it does help explain it.
In the coming days, teachers will help their students to make sense of this week’s senseless events. Young people in Baltimore—and everywhere—have the right to feel angry when they see injustice in their communities. We have an obligation to help them feel heard and nonviolently demand justice without compounding the city’s pain. At TNTP, we stand by those teachers, their students and their families, and offer our full support as they navigate these hard days. Today, more than ever, our mission to ensure excellent teaching for all feels urgent and critical for Baltimore students and families…READ MORE
Richard Green is Partner, New Teacher Effectiveness at TNTP.