This is an extraordinary moment in America. Never in the past 50 years has there been so much public focus on the matrix of inequality, mobility, and the requisites of racial reckoning. Education is central to our vision for a more equitable society and we must seize this moment. Our mission at the Berkeley GSE is unwavering: we are committed to the advancement of excellence and equity at all levels of public education.
While much of my professional life has focused on the law, including my years as Dean of Berkeley Law, I have been keenly aware of educational inequities from the time I was in grade school. Watching the 1963 March on Washington, as a 10-year old, I wondered why Dr. King and others didn’t say more about education.
My parents explained to me how a single teacher in deeply segregated Virginia planted dreams in two childhood sweethearts, and pushed them onto a path from poverty to Howard University, Harvard Law, and upper middle class security. Ultimately, my parents reached positions from which they could help others, and that became my polestar before I learned to drive. By the late 1960’s, I began to understand the transformative power of education, policy, and law. Nothing since has been as important to me, professionally or morally. I feel honored that the Chancellor and Provost offered me the interim Dean position at the GSE. I also feel privileged, because the GSE's mission has always been my greatest professional passion.
I have pledged to spend my two years at the Berkeley GSE not as a caretaker, but as a builder. Dean Prudence L. Carter and colleagues built a strong foundation: a beautiful new building, a new generation of faculty stars, innovative certificate and degree programs, and more. Dean Carter’s receipt of the Berkeley Citation is richly deserved and I hope you will join me in celebrating her dynamic leadership and service to Berkeley.
From the development and application of innovative research to the preparation and training of aspiring educators and leaders, the Berkeley GSE continues to serve as a hub for improving outcomes in education. I am honored to join a community so deeply committed to equity and grateful for your partnership and support.
Christopher Edley, Jr.
Honorable William H. Orrick, Jr. Distinguished Professor
CoFounder, the Opportunity Institute