Life after whistleblowing – running with the pigs in the Delta

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Mark Twain said that Helena Arkansas was the most beautiful town on the banks of the Mississippi River. That’s a true once upon a time story. Today, Helena is a town in rural Arkansas with a small population and a smaller economy. The amazing children here, however, still gather daily to wonder, dream and learn. The teachers and administrators at KIPP Delta Public Schools genuinely care about educational equality and social justice. I count myself lucky to have landed here and admire the work that our leadership team and teachers have done over the past fifteen years. My daily run out by the river (where one has to be mindful of wild pigs) has given me time to reflect on my whistleblowing journey.

Our book, Cheated, continues to attract interest. A shout out to all of those who have supported us and continue to read and teach about the social injustices in college sport.  The NCAA punted the case as ‘outside of their jurisdiction’ and UNC, as the world champions of academic fraud, escaped sanctions earlier this fall. The athletes who were cheated out of the education promised to them are the losers; the UNC’s hired attorneys are the winners. So goes life here in the United States of America. Perhaps we would all be better off if we could “Make America Read Again”.

Literacy, learning and education continue to be my focus. I’m fortunate to have found a place where I can be of use. I remain hopeful and steadfast in believing that education is the way for children to rise up out of poverty, and that our unjust educational system can and must be changed. During this holiday season, I will visit Puerto Rico to do some post Maria recovery work at an elementary school. Once again, our children deserve better from us – we who have the opportunity and privilege to share our gifts and shape futures. The real work is done when we meet people where they live. Happy Holidays. Feliz Navidad. May 2018 bring you hope, joy and peace. Onward!

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