Josh Edelman ’87 visited a meeting of the Middle School diversity club, A-Z SU, on October 12 to talk about inequities in the education system and the achievement gap. Josh has worked extensively in public education in D.C. and Chicago as both a teacher and an administrator. Currently he is working at the Gates Foundation on a project titled Empowering Effective Teachers.
Josh described three factors that contribute to educational inequities: quality of teaching, students’ peers, and students’ exposure to the world. His work at the Gates Foundation focuses on the first. The organization’s goal is to place a great teacher in every classroom—a teacher who is not only devoted to his or her students but who pushes them to always do their best. Josh added that there are no better teachers around the country than those who are successful in a large public school classroom.
When asked what advice he would give today’s Sidwell students, Josh encouraged them to ask questions, be true to yourself, understand that it’s okay to be different, and be creative. The Middle Schools students were also encouraged to become an expert in something they find interesting, as a hobby now might lead to a job in the future. “Work to become passionate about something,” Josh told them. “Let your heart guide you.”