All children deserve 21st century learning environments and a high-quality education. All children deserve to attend schools where they feel welcome, supported, and accepted for who they are. These shouldn't be aspirational statements. The reality is K-12 education is failing to deliver on these promises due to longstanding inequities that, thanks to COVID-19, are finally seeing the light of day. Our children, especially those from underserved communities, deserve better.
A sustainable future isn't possible until we address the inequities in our schools. We can start by placing the third leg of sustainability, equity, at the core of everything we do. Policy is a good place to begin as policy can greatly influence change, especially as it pertains to equity. However, effective policy requires leaders who are willing to walk the walk and talk the talk. In the case of using policy to create sustainable and equitable schools, it means leaders must be willing to acknowledge the imbalance of power and privilege that exists at all levels of their school's ecosystem and take steps to right those imbalances. It requires leaders who refuse to stand for the status quo and are ready to put in the hard work to engage their school community in transformative change.
This past month, GreenNotes featured articles that highlight how school and district leaders can take action to make bold changes in how they operate, lead, and teach for sustainability and equity. Articles addressed culturally relevant leadership, implicit bias, and seeking out culturally-sensitive sustainability policies and programs for budget-strapped schools and school districts. No matter where you are on your journey, we hope these stories inspire you to make a change, however big or small, that gets us all closer to the day when ALL children attend sustainable, equitable schools.