Pedro Rivera: Activist, Advocate, Educator
Pedro Rivera is the Secretary of Education for Pennsylvania, and believes there must be someone in education who understands the issues of social justice and equity, and be able to push that agenda for children forward.
In the political arena, an activist and an advocate are both trying to change the system in service of the same goal. The difference between the two is that the former confronts the system while the latter works within it. Rivera has experience being both. “One of my mentors once said we have a lot of activists out there, but we don’t have enough advocates,” he says.
“Being an activist is great,” Rivera says. “It was nice to be on the other side and just yell for social change. But being an advocate is so much harder It takes a lot more nuance, and compromise. But that’s the lens I see leadership through—that at the end of the day you’re creating an environment for kids that was better than when the day started. That’s what drives me day to day as secretary.”
And Rivera does feel like he’s making a difference. “Being Secretary has been an amazing ride,” he says. “Education is the one job that creates all other jobs, but it’s been one of the most disrespected occupations. I think some of the policies we’re proposing will value the art and science of teaching again.”
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