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TED Talk Tuesday: "How teachers can help kids find their political voices" by Sydney Chaffee

This weeks TED Talk is by Sydney Chaffee, the 2017 National Teacher of the Year who has spent the past year traveling the country to talk to educators and social justice leaders about the power of education. Sydney takes a look at education in America, and how the classroom environment can make or break the path for social justice in our country. Education is an important issue to Wayne Powell, the product of a public school education that gave him the opportunities that lead him to a career in the military, public service, and running a small business.

Education can be a tool for social justice.
— Sydney Chaffee

One of Wayne’s most notable contributions to education in the Commonwealth of Virginia was during his time as President of the Richmond Association of Phi Beta Kappa. Founded in 1776, The Phi Beta Kappa Society advocates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. Its campus chapters invite for induction the most outstanding liberal arts and sciences students at America’s leading colleges and universities.

When our students walk into our classrooms, they bring their identities with them. Everything they experience in our rooms is bound up in historical context, and so if we insist that education happens in a vacuum, we do our students a disservice. We teach them that education doesn’t really matter, because it’s not relevant to what’s happening all around them
— Sydney Chaffee

The Powell Law Group is dedicated to creating a positive impact for education in our community. This year, we are sponsoring the classrooms of two teachers in the Chesterfield County Public School system. Check out their classrooms, their wish lists, and updates here.

Whether you want to help us in this mission or begin your own, remember as Chaffe said, "Teaching will always be a political act. We can't be afraid of our students' power. Their power will help them make tomorrow better." May we work together to give each student their chance.


Thanks for joining us for our TED Talk Tuesday, a series of posts where Wayne Powell from the Powell Law Group in Virginia shares his favorite TED talks about the justice system, crime in America, democracy, the rule of law, and mass incarceration. TED is a nonprofit devoted to welcoming highly-trained professionals, educators, authors, researchers, and creative thinkers from every discipline and culture to spread innovative ideas to national and international conferences and lesson series.