What if, one day, you decided to quit your job? Without having another one already lined up?
This is the email Anya Kamenetz sent, which instantly grabbed my attention. Anya covered education for many years, including at NPR, where she co-created the podcast Life Kit: Parenting. She speaks, writes, and thinks about learning and the future. Anya is a returning guest. You can find our previous conversation in the show notes.
Our conversation focuses on two main points
- How does someone finally reach their tipping point to make such a bold career decision, and
- The impact that Covid has had on children, which she addresses in her newest book, The Stolen Year: How Covid Changed Children’s Lives, And Where We Go Now.
When reflecting on her career, Anya points out that from her perspective, a career fills three buckets – financial, day-to-day experience, and identity. Anya also talks about her struggle with the best way to use her talents and skills in service of making the world better.
Covid impacted all of us, but some more than others, especially children. School has long meant much more than an education in America. 30 million children depend on free school meals. Schools are, statistically, the safest physical places for children to be. They are the best chance many children have at finding basics like eye exams, safe housing, mental health counseling, or simply a caring adult. Flawed, inequitable, underfunded, and segregated, they remain the most important engine of social mobility and the crucible of our democracy.
The cost of closing our schools for so long during COVID, made with good intentions, has not yet been fully reckoned with. Anya makes the case that 2020 wasn’t a lost year–it was taken from our children, by years of neglect and bad faith. We have failed to put them first.
To get more people involved in this critical conversation, the first five listeners who email me, I will send you a free copy of Anya’s new book.
Please enjoy my conversation with Anya Kamenetz.