Solidarity Share - Education

This "Solidarity Share" was presented as part of a Keynote Plenary at the 7th Annual Millennium Campus Conference. Solidarity Shares were created by pairs of Delegates from different communities across the globe, finding shared points of struggle, joy, and connection. We hope their stories inspire you to connect across borders, to see the ways that struggles in your community might benefit from solidarity with others.

Photo by Lishabai Yi, Li Sun and Zhiyue Wang

Junyang Yin and Andy Jean

Yunnan Province, China and New York, USA

My name is Junyang Yin, and I am from China. In my community, education is a challenge. I was lucky to be born in the capital city of Yunnan Province. One day I was complaining about the bus commute from my home to high school. My Dad looked at me seriously and said, “Come here... Let me tell you something...” You know when parents are going to start the “When I was your age...” lecture, (sigh...) I volunteered in a hope primary school as a teacher in China. If it was not told by these kids come from remote villages as I saw their worn shoes with mud, I would not have never recalled my dad’s words: “When I was your age, I have to take care of 3 siblings and walk 3 hours on bumpy mountain road to school.” Yunnan is situated on the southwestern frontier of China. We have the most ethnic minorities, and they make up a third of Yunnan’s population. Those ethnic minority people live in valleys or hilly areas. For various historical reasons, they are economically and culturally backward. Therefore, to promote education in Yunnan is to focus on the education of the minorities.

My name is Andy Jean, and I am from New York State. In my community, education is a challenge. Education in New York City, whose public school system is the largest in the world, the most postgraduate life sciences awarded, with some of the best and worst performing public schools and the second largest recipient of funds from the National Institute of Health amongst universities, is plagued with problems. My experience with NYS education has more or less been satisfactory, however statistics beg us to “regress to the mean”, acknowledging that cognitive biases (Rèn zhī piānchā; Ren­G­pin­cha; 认知偏差) will skewer our perspectives about the problems of education in general. It seems that NYS’s urban minority schools in low­ income communities uniformly perform poorly. We also have the most racially and economically segregated schools in the US. Solutions are varied for many aspects would be needed to be taken into account.

Our challenges are your challenges.