If you follow the work of NYCAN, you’ll know that four years ago we rebooted our efforts in New York around a wide range of issues, most notable among them the expansion of educational opportunity and parent choice in the Empire State.
That work has brought us together with elected officials, advocates, school operators, moms, dads and students. It’s been deeply fulfilling and we’re glad to have been a part of it.
But part of our time has also been spent in the rest of the country, talking about the work and lessons of New York and how that experience can be beneficial to people looking to improve schools elsewhere. Across those travels, a refrain emerged that we heard again and again: our politics and our nation are more divided now than ever before, and that division threatens to arrest progress for our children as it threatens progress for our country.
Because of this, NYCAN will shift its 2018 work away from the pursuit of traditional policy goals. We will instead spend the majority of our time developing a new communications and leadership fellowship. The goal of this work is to make sure that the deal-making pragmatism that helped create the modern education reform movement is not lost in the chasms of the deep divisions in our current politics. We view the cultivation and support of people who believe in holding the center, as well as listening to ideas from different people, places and parties, as crucial to the progress that will take our work forward into the future.
New York is too important as a center for change for advocates to leave it unprotected, so I will continue to work here on the issues of policy and people that typify NYCAN’s agenda. But our goal this year is one that takes us in a different direction, so we will not run a formal campaign—with formal goals as our sister CANs do—in the 2018 legislative session.