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The CEO of a nonprofit organization that operates 23 charter public schools said the education system should move towards “social justice” during a panel event at The Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles Monday.
“[Teachers] are very, and rightfully so, upset with the status quo,” Angella Martinez of KIPP SoCal Public Schools said. “They want to work for institutions that are about social justice, about what is right, about changing the world, about this collective action as a group of people together, that this is about propelling humanity forward as a team, that we’re all in this together, and they want to be inspired to do that.”
“I feel like education is kind of like the fossil fuels of climate change. I was like, we need renewable energy to think about education in new and imaginative ways,” she added.
The panel event addressed the widening gap in achievement and the “loss of grade-level skills” in the K-12 U.S. education system.
“This piece around the achievement is something that we’re all going to have to grapple with. And it’s going to require us to really think about what are the skills that students truly need to advance. And … critical thinking like is the gateway, listening to the higher ed … counterparts talk about how companies and agencies out there are looking for students [who are] able to solve problems as a group, as a collective, be creative, to solve climate change, to be able to be on the front lines of the next pandemic because it’s gonna come,” she said. “We need to get our students prepared for that in addition to what does mathematics look like and what does early literacy look like.”
“With state testing … it feels so horrible because teachers know how their students are going to perform on these latest assessments that are happening right now,” Martinez said. “But we put so much emphasis on performance and as a charter school and there’s a pressure because where our renewal is dependent on that.”