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Meet The Elephant in the (Class)room

The Elephant in the (Class)room

A compelling vision for education — a people-centered purpose

As humans, we need and want to explore and understand the world around us — to learn. That’s why we wrote The Elephant in the (Class)room. It reminds us that we’re all learners.

The Elephant trumpets that teaching and learning is a beautifully dynamic, relational human exchange. And that our humanity is the beating heart of our classrooms and every corner of the ecosystem we call “school.”

Today, we’re excited to share The Elephant in the (Class)room with you.


It’s a compelling vision for education — a people-centered purpose. Together with our 23-person National Equity Commission — a group of living experts, researchers, and nonprofit leaders representing our priority student populations — we co-designed The Elephant with humanness as our keystone.

Our journey to co-create The Elephant emphasized storytelling, reflection, and liberatory design. And it is still ongoing. There is no single universal tactic that will accelerate us to thriving, rigorous learning experiences for every stakeholder in education. Equity is a practice, not a destination.

But The Elephant gives us a true North. A compass that bridges the science of learning and development with ensuring people in all their diversity are at the heart of everything we do. It’s a commitment to affirming, just, and rigorous instruction working side-by-side with students and families to self-actualize the innate talents, gifts, and skills that make each young person incredible.

The Elephant is also a call to create humanizing, liberating professional learning experiences for teachers — spaces that give educators everything they need and deserve, heart and mind, to meaningfully engage students and sustain themselves in a complicated, pandemic-shaped future.

The Elephant isn’t about getting stuck on the problem. Quite the opposite. We are calling out the root cause by fully and honestly acknowledging where we are — and where we’ve been. But we are also calling the field in with an invitation to shape a new vision and purpose for public education. One that protects and fulfills the promise of our democracy. Central to this work is a call to:

  • Embrace teaching and learning as a dynamic relational human exchange
  • Expand the concept of educator and community in schools
  • Co-design systems to sustain equity

Join us Tuesday, March 7 at 10:00 am PT / 1:00 pm EST to explore our anchors for equity and take a deeper dive into transformational commitments we can make now. Can’t make it? Join our session on Tuesday, March 21 at the same time.

With gratitude,
Tommy Chang, CEO
Atyani Howard, Chief Program Officer

Filed under: Blog, News, Press Release

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