It is a sad time for America. We at Cognia share your grief, your sadness, and your concerns. Some citizens have chosen freely to protest while others have elected to pray. But all of us want better days, calmer times, and a return to living life as we choose.

Sad, but true, recent tragic events are not new to us. Seeds of these troubling times have been present for generations due to failures in our societal, political, and economic systems. The tragedy of George Floyd is not a novelty but a symbol of a haunting past that continues to be ever present. Although, at times, it appears we have made progress in addressing these injustices, the continual reappearance of these situations indicates that the root causes have yet to be addressed. We have much work to do.

While all of us hope and pray that these turbulent times due to the pandemic and social injustices pass, we must find the resolve and commitment to determine the root causes. We must take the necessary, challenging steps to address these matters, so to eradicate their existence. The solution to our current crisis may start with new laws and policies, but must be built upon a culture of mutual respect, honesty, and fairness. The work of building the culture we want and that our children deserve begins in our communities through our schools, places of worship, and homes, as well as through our government and community leaders at all levels. The road ahead will not be easy, but often the most important improvements in life are the most challenging.

Education is the key to building the moral and ethical character of a nation. Our public educational system was created, in large part, to perpetuate our democracy, the ideals of which are being challenged every day. Education is the most effective strategy to build and sustain our economic health and vitality. Unfortunately, in most parts of our country there is diminishing commitment to investing in education. Over the past two decades education has been the target in our society rather than the solution that can best strengthen our communities, our economies, and our quality of life.

Cognia remains steadfast in its advocacy for investing in our children and their communities so that we have the resources to address the root causes of these troubling times, through the education and development of the next generation of our nation’s leaders. We will continue to work with other organizations and our partner institutions in advocacy for all children so that they shall experience an educational journey free from prejudice, free from injustice, and free from inequities. The current events illustrate that we have significant challenges ahead.

There is no place in today’s society for racism, violence, and hatred. It is time for our country to reflect and model what a modern society can and should be for its citizenry and the world. Join me and my colleagues at Cognia to leverage our educational system’s purpose with its dedicated leaders, passionate teachers, and hopeful children to create a culture all people richly deserve.

With profound sadness in the present, while sustaining hope for the future,

Mark A. Elgart, Ed.D.