By Elizabeth Evans
Founder and CEO, New Voice Strategies
“Whose side are you on?”
“Students and their teachers.”
“Yeah. But whose side are you really on?”
I’ve had this exchange many, many, many times since my colleague and I launched New Voice Strategies with VIVA Teachers in late 2010. In fact, we constantly returned to our answer to make sure it was achievable when we were dreaming up New Voice Strategies and VIVA Teachers in 2010.
It’s the truth: At New Voice Strategies, we’re on the side of students and their teachers.
We agree with everyone who thinks American public education isn’t living up to our ideals. With everyone who thinks the greatest gift we can give our children is the gift of knowledge and the skills to use it wisely. With everyone who believes in the dignity of work, the vitality of excellence and the huge role teachers play in our lives and our country.
So, why do I constantly have to answer the same question about VIVA Teachers? Why does my honest, simple, accurate answer fail to satisfy? Because we live in times of uncertainty and mistrust. Of specialization, polarization and, sadly, demonization. Because we’re all caught up in a torrent of information and an endless stream of words but no longer take time to listen or reflect.
Amplifying All Teachers’ Voices
And that’s exactly what we want to do: Give teachers a chance to listen, reflect, think and be heard. Give teachers what they crave: time to work through a problem together and come up with solutions that pull on their professional judgment and the actual realities of their students.
We want to be everywhere classroom teachers are because we want to elevate teachers’ ideas. Because way too many public officials need a reality check. Because parents need a better way to partner with teachers. Because we need to use our public money in better ways– to actually help teachers and students in their classrooms for the long haul.
VIVA Teachers exists because it’s how we can help achieve an American public education system that is really, truly, yes-we-mean-it, for sure, on the side of students and their teachers. Want to talk about it with me? Send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll set up a call or arrange to grab a cup of coffee.
I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.