Skip to content

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: News, Press Release

Contact NTC

Contact NTC

Interested in learning more? Send us a line and we'll be sure to help.

Related News

August 11, 2023

News Press Release

New Teacher Center Awarded $750,000 Grant to Support Educators in Huntsville City Schools in Partnership with the Toyota USA Foundation

New Teacher Center (NTC) was awarded a $750,000 grant to support student-centered instructional coaching as part of Toyota’s $6.7M investment to prepare Huntsville City Schools’ students for future careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

July 20, 2023

News Press Release

NTC Elects Three Education Leaders to Board of Directors

New Teacher Center elects Chong-Hao Fu, Sujata Bhatt, and Jim Mylen to its national board of directors to help guide innovation and professional learning to support systemically underserved students.

June 30, 2023


NTC Statement on Supreme Court Overturning Affirmative Action

Today's Supreme Court decision to end affirmative action will shape our society for generations. The ruling rejects 40 years of precedent and reinterprets the 14th Amendment and the Congress that enacted the Civil Rights Act. Race-conscious admissions was never the end goal or solution. But it served as a tool for colleges and universities to ensure that campuses are places of racial, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity so that they can be institutions of profound and transformative teaching and learning.