The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented number of unique barriers of which we will likely feel the effects for years to come. In light of the many challenges that the local, state, and national responses to COVID-19 have laid bare, a group of NEA members who all participated in Leaders for Just Schools—a new leadership program built around equity and racial and social justice in education—began conversing.
In March 2020, these NEA member leaders discussed how, at the onset of the pandemic, educators and policymakers can begin to address inequities and work toward equitable and just learning environments for all students across race and place. Born from these conversations was the first volume of “Voices of Leaders for Just Schools: Education Justice Through and Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which captures the “big ideas” gleaned from hours of online conversations hosted by NEA with LJS participants. The report includes the “big ideas” about how to respond to and overcome barriers that we have never had to face before.
A year later, NEA member leaders reconvened to reflect on their experiences teaching through a global pandemic; to identify new challenges, barriers, and lessons learned; and to brainstorm equitable solutions to spur action in school communities across the country. These NEA members isolated priority issues and discussed possible solutions to address education inequities and close achievement gaps. These conversations culminated in the second volume of “Voices of Leaders for Just Schools.”