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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Leading the Charge:Why More Leaders of Color in Indy Should Connect with EdLoc

Dr. David McGuire is an educator and education reporter. He attended school in Indianapolis, K-12, and is a graduate of Central State University and holds advanced degrees from Indiana Wesleyan University and Marian University. In addition to his work as an educator, he also navigates the education system as a parent.

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It is like going to a family reunion and connecting with your cousins you see once a year. While the communication throughout the year is not as often as you like, when you see them, it is like you have talked everyday. We are family because we are committed to doing the hard work, but we are committed to doing the hard work together. The Education Leaders of Color (EdLoc) National Convening is a space where leaders of color from across the country in different sectors come together to fellowship, share resources/ideas, connect, and tackle challenging education issues that impact millions of children of color in our country.

For the last year, I have been a member of EdLoc. My membership began last year before the 2022 National Convening, the first in-person convening since the pandemic put things on pause for a couple of years. Attending the 2023 National Convening represented one year as a member. Throughout the year, I had the privilege to participate in various events, including a trip to Chicago to participate in the Turn and Talk Series to hear about what EdLoc had planned for the future. I also participated in virtual conversations centered on a social curriculum committee tackling the push to ban specific books of color in schools and to push for my culturally competent social curriculum in schools. While looking for work, EdLoc also helps connect me with a job interview.

The creation of EdLoc is an amazing story. It is a story that shows the power of what a group of highly intelligent and committed individuals can create when they come together and find others to believe in and invest in. According to the EdLoc website, EdLoc is a membership organization that ensures young people of color have the support they need to thrive, capitalize on opportunities, and build generational wealth.

My experience at the convening, both last year and this year, is one that I will never forget. It goes beyond the location of the convening, which saw the 2022 convening happening in Houston and the 2023 convening in Las Vegas. The main stage discussions, breakout sessions, and the opportunity to connect with new people and reconnect with others was life-changing. As a school leader, you need spaces like that to keep you motivated and rejuvenated to do this tough work.

EdLoc’s values include Ending Generational Poverty, Creating Schools We Want For All Children, Going Beyond Education, and Advancing Multiple Solutions. When I think about these values, I want to see more leaders of color in Indianapolis engaging with the work of EdLoc.

Right now, in our city, many of our low-performing schools are schools where children of color attend. One of the biggest problems plaguing our schools is the impact of poverty on academic achievement. Our city and the leaders must focus on a two-prong approach. This approach will focus on academic achievement and ways to end generational poverty.

Leaders in the city should focus on creating sustainable change. As leaders, we need to meet and connect to utilize our community’s assets and resources. People in our community can answer the problems in our community, and we need to come together.

While quality education is the ultimate equalizer in our society, I am not naive to the fact that I know that to improve outcomes in our community, we need to go beyond education.

One of the values of EdLoc speaks directly to that point. Leaders in our city who connect with EdLoc can learn about ways to partner with allies to support improving schools. The approach will require work in and outside the school to pull together resources and change policy. A problem this complex will require more than one solution. EdLoc’s final value is centered on advancing multiple solutions. There is more than one way to solve the problems facing our education system in Indianapolis. Now more than ever, our approach to improving education in our city has focused on uplifting one way while tearing down another. As stated in the vision statement, we must reject the one-size-fits-all solution and embrace multiple solutions to solve this complex problem.

I left the convening with a feeling of being full but also encouraged. I was encouraged to come back to the city a work alongside the other leaders from the town who attended to do the work. The work is much bigger than the small group of us who have connected with EdLoc over the years. We need an army of leaders connecting to come together for change. We can come together from our different sectors, experiences, and expertise to dismantle the barriers holding us back and down from existing in the Indianapolis we all want.

For more information about EdLoc, visit the website at edloc.org.
Contact Indy Kids Winning reporter David McGuire at davidm@indyrecorder.com. Follow him on Twitter @DavidMMcGuire Facebook at David McGuire and Instagram @dr.davidmcguire

David’s work is supported through a partnership between Indy Kids Winning and the Indianapolis Recorder. Visit indykidswinning.com to learn more.

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