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As education challenges persist, our coverage will elevate the voices of educators

Schools have changed. Learning has changed. The personal lives of everyone involved in these systems have changed. And they continue to change, after two years of a brutal pandemic, untold economic hardship, political polarization and social unrest. No one understands this more intimately than the teachers, school leaders and students who experience it every day.

Raising the diverse voices of educators, especially the perspectives of those who have been traditionally marginalized, is key to bringing about change. This is especially important at this time, during what appears to be an inflection point in the history of American education.

During this time of upheaval, we amplified the voices of educators as they navigated the fallout of the pandemic through our Voices of Change project, creating opportunities for educators to reflect, share and learn about each other through journalism, storytelling and research.

Just over a year ago, our journalists and researchers set out to better understand student and educator mental health and learn how school communities support resilience and well-being. We explored how school counselors deal with their implicit biases, how educators rethink homework after a year of remote learning, and why talking about teacher trauma is important. And two reporters investigated the challenges facing the workforce, one delving into the hustles and second jobs teachers rely on to make ends meet, and the other examining a mental health crisis growing trend which alienates some teachers completely from the profession.

We sought out new voices from across the country, publishing a collection of first-person accounts written by educators and researchers about the subtle and meaningful ways their work and lives have changed since the start of 2020.

We also launched our first-ever writing scholarship for an inaugural cohort of seven distinguished educators driving change in their communities. These fellows explored the intersections of personal and professional identity, building relationships, and reinventing curriculum and teaching for a new generation of learners. They wrote deeply moving essays that gave us insight into the experimental successes and failures that defined their careers and courageously reflected on their experiences dealing with trauma, teaching inclusive sex education, and inspiring indigenous knowledge.

During this time, EdSurge researchers have facilitated community engagement events, such as our virtual learning circles, bringing together diverse educators from across the country to connect, reflect, and share about the issues they face in their practice.

We are excited to share that EdSurge will continue this work over the next two years as we expand our Voices of Change project, which, as in previous years, is produced with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. As always, EdSurge maintains editorial independence on all of our journalism, consistent with our Ethics Statement.

As we expand this work, our team prepares to launch the application for a new cohort of Voices of Change Writing Fellows, a paid opportunity (subscribe to our K-12 newsletter for the latest news on the Fellowship). Our reporters and contributors will continue to address familiar themes – the exploration and development of identity, building relationships, the mental health and well-being of educators and students – and a host of related issues. And our research team will focus on the experiences of traditionally underrepresented educators.

We’ll continue to shine a light on new voices and perspectives on how school models, instructional practices, and student and educator experiences are changing, so if you’re an educator or school leader with an idea for a story you’d like to share, please fill out our brief pitch form, and an editor can be in touch to help turn it into a story (we’re now paying $150 for all such published submissions). And if you’re a freelance writer with a great story idea, feel free to message us at tips@edsurge.com.

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