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How White Progressives Undermine School Integration

I’m going one day to be in a position where I can change something. And I think that I’m not necessarily hopeful in the sense that I think everything will change overnight. Because obviously, that won’t happen. I know that there are going to be a lot of people who oppose the movement for racial and educational equity.

But I’m hopeful in the sense that I think that there will be progress. I’m hopeful because I know that I can change something. And I’ve seen that already happening, not just with myself, but also with other students whose experiences are currently being elevated.

DOUGLASS HORSFORD Well, I’m very hopeful, actually. And I think it’s because I’ve been beating this drum for a minute. And I feel like the consciousness is changing around these issues.

I’m also very encouraged by the work of young people like Tiffani and even my children, and by just seeing how this moment has ignited their activism and their boldness. They’re just not going to put up with things in ways that even I did.

I think that we just need to make sure that we’re really supporting young people and giving them the tools and the space and the resources to engage in that activism. And that we continue to really focus on resources and representation. But we’ve got to also go back to the political space, the political dimension of all of this, and make sure that we are engaging in political participation, voting, electing people who share our commitment to equity and justice, and support them in doing their work. And with that we will get through this.

Dana Goldstein is a national correspondent for The New York Times, writing about the impact of education policies on families, students and teachers across the country. She is the author of the best-selling “The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession.”

Tiffani Torres is a rising college freshman at Georgetown University and a recent graduate of Pace High School in Manhattan. She lives in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and is an activist at Teens Take Charge, a student-led group that advocates integration of New York City’s public schools.

Richard Buery is the president of Achievement First, a network of charter schools in the Northeast. He previously worked as the chief of policy and public affairs at the KIPP Foundation, a national charter network; as a deputy mayor in the de Blasio administration; and as the chief executive of the Children’s Aid Society, a social service agency. He is a graduate of New York City public schools.

Chana Joffe-Walt is a reporter and producer at This American Life, and the host of “Nice White Parents,” a new podcast from Serial and The New York Times. The five-part series tells the story of a 60-year relationship between white parents and the local public school down the block.

Sonya Douglass Horsford is a professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College who studies the politics of race in education leadership, policy and reform. She is the author of several books, including “Learning in a Burning House: Educational Inequality, Ideology, and (Dis) Integration.”

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