Statement Regarding the Location of the EL Education 2019 National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia
We recognize that Georgia, where our 2019 National Conference will be held, is one of 11 states that have recently passed restrictive anti-abortion legislation. The issue of protecting women’s reproductive rights is one of great importance to many of our staff and schools. We also acknowledge that diverse perspectives exist within our organization and the larger EL Education network.
After carefully considering the possible responses to this situation, we have decided to move forward with the 2019 National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. We have arrived at this decision for several reasons:
- We believe that the EL Education National Conference provides a unique opportunity to support educators in creating classrooms where students have the capacity to think critically about issues of concern and feel the responsibility to bring their voices into the civic sphere.
- To that end, Sydney Chaffee, 2017 National Teacher of the Year, will design and lead a master class discussing how to engage students in this important learning, using abortion as a case study.
- At this date, we do not have the option of relocating the conference. Our only alternative would be to cancel it. We believe that we can best forward our collective mission by supporting the local community and the thousands of educators in attendance.
- Four of our schools in the Atlanta area are geared up to host powerful site visits; local EL Education students will take the stage as MCs and presenters--taking away this opportunity would be a big blow to them; the reception will take place in the Center for Civil and Human Rights, a nonprofit that will directly benefit from our support.
- If we were to cancel the conference, we would lose $600,000, funds that would continue to go to our Georgia host hotel.
This decision was not an easy one, and we realize that not everyone will agree with it. We welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues further with anyone considering participation in the conference. Questions or comments can be addressed to Beth M. Miller, EL Education Chief Knowledge Officer via our contact form.