Last week, a long-simmering debate about which kinds of diversity—ideological, political, socioeconomic, racial, or ethnic—should matter most in our education reform community boiled over into public view.
This debate comes at an interesting time in my life because I am in the middle of a year-long leadership development program—50CAN’s Education Advocacy Fellowship—that was created to provide an on-ramp for more people to serve as education reform leaders. This experience has led me to realize something so simple it’s perhaps overlooked in all the back and forth over this debate:
There is more than enough work to go around.
It is exactly because of the scale and complexity of the challenges we face, and the numerous gaps left unfilled, that the best work in education advocacy is increasingly being carried out by coalitions that span the traditional divides.
That means intentionally elevating both ideologically diverse and racially and socioeconomically diverse leaders—because we all have something unique and different to contribute. Making room for a greater diversity of voices doesn’t have to mean asking anyone to step back from their work.
During my time in the 50CAN fellowship, I have come to learn from and respect the contributions made by conservatives who...