This month will mark the end of 50CAN’s 10th year.
Two of the core values we established in those early days in 2011 to help guide our work were optimism and candor, knowing that holding true to both of them at once wouldn’t always be easy. That’s never been more true than in 2021.
We strived to lead the way forward this year with candor about the ways our country’s response to the pandemic has failed to put the needs of kids first. We put a spotlight on the learning losses that school shutdowns have produced, the lack of transparency in the way billions of federal funds are being spent and the slow pace of progress in adapting our educational systems to this new reality.
At the same time, our optimism in what can emerge from this crisis led us to aim higher than just a return to normal. As we wrote back in September when we rolled out an ambitious new policy agenda: “As we seek to recover, rebuild and renew our commitment to education, our students deserve MORE than a return to normal, they deserve to Believe in Better.” Despite the challenges, we draw strength and hope from the work of local advocates across the country who are bringing this vision into reality.
Last time in the New Reality Roundup, we put the spotlight on the work of David Miyashiro and HawaiiKidsCAN, including this video which America Succeeds’ Eric Lerum described as, “Why we do this work. The kids and families. The community. The impact.”
This week, we take a clear-eyed look at the emerging Omicron variant and the potential impact that it will have on schools while also highlighting what continues to feed our optimism: the massive progress our advocates have made across the country in 2021.
Moment of Resilience
It took two years, but last week we brought our whole network together to take stock of what we have learned during the pandemic and where we should go in the new year. 50CAN President Derrell Bradford and our Executive Directors paused during our 10th Anniversary Summit to commemorate the moment.