Barbara Vallejo Doten

Better Than Normal

With the Global Pandemic in various stages of uncertainty, “getting back to normal” is proving to be as elusive as herd immunity. As of today, 53% of the nation is fully vaccinated, 45% refuse to wear masks — anywhere — with some parents protesting mask mandates outside the very schools that are tasked to first and foremost keep every child safe. Does normal have a chance or even a place in this new world? Before the pandemic, how well did “normal” serve all schools and communities, especially BIPOC communities? In the most recent edition of Education Leadership, U.S. Secretary of Education,  Miguel Cardona stated:

”Reopening our schools means much more than turning on the lights. This is our moment as educators and leaders to transform our education system so that it truly serves all our nation's students, particularly those historically and presently underserved-who also have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.” 

The California Global Education Project at CSU Long Beach is ready to work in partnership with teachers and districts in the greater Los Angeles/Long Beach area to rethink, reimagine, and reignite students, families, and communities as we learn together how to live and thrive in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. Towards that goal, this blog space is dedicated to demonstrating the heart and practice of the four domains of Global Competence: Investigate the World, Communicate Ideas, Recognize Perspectives, and Take Action. As allies in these times of opportunity, we invite you to take action on your ideas to make school a safe and even more engaging and joyful place for students. We need to hear your thoughts on the issues we present so we can recognize perspectives that better inform our own thinking. We invite you to communicate your ideas on equity, anti-racism education, environmental justice, and more for the greater good of the collective. Finally, we encourage you to investigate the world of new ideas with curiosity, even those that might make us uncomfortable for that is where growth occurs. Each blog post will provide relevant resources and highlight a domain and/or an indicator that best reflects its intention.

For this very first blog article, Recognize the value of each person in a global community best speaks to the observation made by Secretary Cardona about the post-pandemic education world; This is our moment. We can’t afford to exclude anyone who has an interest or stake in making education better for all students. Ironically, it may have taken a historic global pandemic to bring about a transformation of our education system. One that honors students' lived experiences, recognizes that teaching to the heart is just as important as teaching to the mind, and that helping students develop a sense of belonging as well as the skills and dispositions to contribute to our families, our communities, our nation, and our world is what truly matters and what defines us. 

We are happy to be your thought partners in this journey and look forward to your thoughtful and compassionate participation in this blog and in our CGEP programs. 

Be well, be healthy, keep hope alive.

Barbara Vallejo Doten, Regional Director