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Reflecting and Recommitting on 9-11 Anniversary

The television was on all day in my house yesterday, as I'm sure it was in many homes across the country. On the 10th anniversary of September 11, I felt a strong need to connect with the activities taking place in New York City. Like everyone, I remember exactly where I was when the World Trade Center was attacked. When the first plane hit, I simply continued working with a colleague on the problem we were discussing. Never in my mind did I think the U.S. was under attack. Looking back, it's amazing to think that I could be so naïve.

I felt reassured yesterday morning when I saw Presidents Obama and Bush standing together at the 9-11 Memorial. To me this was a reminder that our nation can come together when our priorities demand it. The events of September 11 were tragic. I was moved that they caused all of us to put aside what suddenly seemed like petty differences to come together to comfort each other and recognize that we are one nation with a responsibility to one another. I hope yesterday's remembrances serve as powerful reminders to the importance of coming together.

While sudden, tragic events often bring people together, it's more difficult to reach consensus around ongoing tragedies, perhaps because they are not as easily recognized. We have an ongoing tragedy in our schools that affects millions of students and educators each day, students who do not experience the learning they need to succeed, and educators who do not get the support they need to make our students successful.

Dennis Sparks once wrote that significant change begins with each of us. If you do not want schools to look the same in 10 years, if you believe children deserve much more than they are getting today, and if you want to play a role in the transformation of our education system, start today. Invest in learning what is possible, ask others to join you in your quest, and with each new learning, determine what small and big steps you will take to ensure that in another 10 years, we can share wonderful stories about how education has been transformed for the children of our nation. Let's use these momentous events to demonstrate how we can come together to answer all of our challenges as a nation.

Stephanie Hirsh
Executive Director, Learning Forward

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