By Paul Luna, President and CEO
Helios Education Foundation
With a highly charged and divisive presidential election behind us, emotional shock waves continue to ripple through our communities. No matter our party affiliations, it should concern us all that some of the ripple effects of the elections are leading to alarming activities in our neighborhoods. Even more troubling is that some of these activities are happening in our schools and impacting our students, creating fear and uncertainty for their future.
As leaders and advocates for improving our education system and ensuring that every student — regardless of where they were born, who their parents are or where they live — is prepared to succeed beyond high school, now, more than ever, we must hold steadfast to the democratic principles that built this great country. It’s up to us to assure our students, tomorrow’s leaders, that no matter the outcome of the elections, be they on the local, state or federal levels, we are committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive society.
Change is inevitable and for many of us it can be destabilizing. Change brings uncertainty and anxiety and it can threaten to uproot everything we have worked hard to achieve. Even in the constant of change, we must remember that the work doesn’t change. The fight to ensure every student has access to a high-quality education from the early years, through middle and high school and beyond still continues. Change may make that work harder, but change shouldn’t stop the work.
As a philanthropic partner in Arizona and Florida, the states we serve and are committed to improving, we will continue to invest our resources in improving academic outcomes for all students. After all, every student, regardless of zip code, deserves a high-quality education. We will continue to collaborate and help populate a groundswell of advocates who believe and act on the premise that education changes lives and makes communities better. We need you, our education partners to remain firm in your efforts to help all students succeed.
I hope today’s changing environment brings with it a renewed interest in the need for an agreed upon set of goals for our education system, a refreshing take on the critical importance of equitable school funding and the dire need for a rigorous, high-expectations, college-going curriculum across the K-12 continuum.
Let’s harness the power of change and breathe new life into the commitments we all made to our students when we became education advocates. In the spirit of the democracy this great country was founded on, let’s continue the work of ensuring that all students, especially our most vulnerable student populations, achieve the success they deserve in college and career.