After a facilities snag forced Cascade Midway Academy to delay its opening as a full-fledged new school, its founders decided to launch a learning hub for 12 students enrolled in nearby districts and charter schools.
This Is No Time for Nuance
At CRPE we take pride in research and ideas that are logical, uncommon, and nuanced. We often eschew easy or simplistic solutions. We prefer to take time to think, listen, and consider. We don’t like saying the obvious or the expected. We believe that actions and results are more important than statements.
The past 10 days have challenged all those inclinations. There is no room for nuance in one’s reaction to watching the brutal murder of George Floyd. This must be a moment of profound horror and shame for all of America, and in particular, for white Americans.
An even greater shame, though, should be in acknowledging the countless other murders that our justice system failed to address, and the deep-seated injustices that lie beneath these individual tragedies.
In this moment, nuance feels shameful, and it reminds one of Dr. King’s warning of the way white moderates can obstruct the battle for justice. In this moment, some things are crystal clear. Shame on us that it must be said out loud that Black lives matter and that Black minds matter, but it must. And because we have a public platform, we will humbly use it to that end today, even though the statements should be self evident.
Shame on us as well if we leave it at that, if we fail to keep striving to understand what that phrase means in our personal lives and in our daily work. My commitment is to challenge myself with the simple clarity of this moment. Being an ally in this moment must mean not just outspoken protest but also moving to the front of the protest line to use whatever power I have on behalf of justice.
At CRPE, we believe that there are structural biases hardwired into public education. Our work aims to bring the firepower of data and evidence to expose those dynamics and propose solutions. We believe the most powerful public policy solutions are those that truly shift power to parents and communities. CRPE has grown stronger over the years by inviting Black parent activists to advise and challenge us. As we have worked to reimagine school systems of the future we’ve tried to consider equity a design principle, not an afterthought. I am proud of our evolution over the years. But like many organizations this week, we are challenging ourselves to re-examine our biases and our assumptions about what it means to be an ally.
Nuance will be necessary ahead, but nuance need not mean moderation. We will not be tepid about the implications of the evidence in front of us. We will seek out opportunities to make ourselves uncomfortable. We will be brave, honest, and authentic, whether the truths are simple or complex.
After tracking and detailing school systems’ reopening plans for months, our research now turns to how districts are translating their plans into action.
Districts had all summer to address the concerns that special education families raised this spring. Yet, in many school systems, special education was largely an afterthought in districts’ planning for fall reopening.