November 2020 Newsletter: Why Be Optimistic
November 23rd, 2020
It’s nearly the end of 2020, and we’re wishing everyone a safe, healthy, masked and socially distanced holiday season. With COVID-19 cases at their highest since March, it’s more important than ever that we protect each other — we bent the curve before, and we can do it again.
There’s no way around it, things just aren’t going back to normal — but maybe the old normal wasn’t working for too many families after all, and the disruptions of COVID-19 are highlighting those inequities and offering a chance to make the new year and the new normal work better.
Our state and nation are having hard conversations about race, health care, how to meet basic needs, access to economic mobility, and the intersection of all of these. We would put education at that intersection too — a postsecondary degree or credential is still the ticket to a fulfilling career, but imbalances in access and support make it harder for many students of color and students experiencing poverty to achieve their dreams. When we hear calls for racial justice, we can point to a lack of affordable housing and ingrained structural inequities in health care and educational opportunities as a root cause.
But we remain optimistic. Progress is possible. We see bright spots where schools are adapting to remote learning and making changes to address racial inequity, vaccine trials are promising, governments are investing in communities while non-profits and relief funds are directed toward immediate needs, friends and families are staying home and masking up to protect each other from COVID, and people are coming together with a renewed sense of what it means to work towards the common good.
Here’s what else we’re sharing in November’s Newsletter:
- Seattle Public Schools needs to keep its superintendent, key to its ambitious strategic plan
- What students are saying about how COVID affected them
- Can public education return to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic?
- We’re launching a new Twitter account, @GatesWA. If you’re on Twitter, please follow us to stay up to date on what our team, partners and grantees are doing to improve educational equity and invest in communities across the great state of Washington.
Thank you for your partnership,
Your Gates Washington State team
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