Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says America needs “great public schools.”
But her speech during the annual legislative meeting of the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) in Washington, D.C. on Monday left more questions than it delivered answers.
While DeVos promised to roll back federal regulations to help school leaders be more “creative,” the secretary offered little in the way of details about how such a system might eventually look.
Despite a palpable uncertainty, the nation’s urban school leaders remain resolute and steadfast in their mission to provide a top-flight educational experience for the nation’s schoolchildren.
That was obvious during the three-day meeting, where school leaders managed to have productive conversations about everything from immigration policy to transgender bathrooms to male students of color.
As a former CGCS school district member and someone who returned to the CGCS after a five-year absence, I was energized to be a part of so many meaningful work sessions. I was also reminded of the great service that CGCS provides its members.
Here are just a few of my key takeaways from the event. I hope you find them useful.
After three days at CGCS, what it came down to, for me, was listening. I listened to the challenges that urban school leaders across the country were facing. I listened to potential solutions as they spontaneously emerged for these incredibly engaging work sessions. And I listened to my colleagues and friends talk about how the national dialogue around public education is changing, literally, in front of our very eyes.
I can’t tell you what the future holds for our schools. Given the uncertainty we are experiencing, no one can. But there is one thing I can say with confidence: The nation’s urban school leaders will continue to come together to do what’s right for students and families. Every day. Whatever it takes.
If you’re dealing with challenges in your schools and want to talk through them, I’m happy to have a conversation with you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.