Start Empathy




Ashoka’s Start Empathy Initiative

Ashoka collaborates with these leading schools to articulate a shared vision for education, amplify their models, grow their impact and collectively identify and address the challenges to making such an education a reality for all children.

The Changemaker Schools Network

Working with Ashoka and Start Empathy has transformed my work and life as an educator, and led to many major changes in my curriculum and approach to teaching. I believe that teaching empathy, and its connection to changemaking, is the most important skill we can teach our children at this moment.” Madeleine Rogin, Prospect Sierra, El Cerrito CA

“Our school’s experience with the Changemaker network has been so invigorating!  It has validated some things that we have been doing for years and has challenged us to look at what others are doing as well.” Matthew Voz, Youth Initiative High School, Viroqua WI 

“We are excited to be part of a group of people who understand that the primary purpose of education is to build a compassionate and educated citizenry — the kind of tomorrow that exemplifies that love is more powerful than hate, that the power of kindness is the only supreme power.” Meredith McLaughlin, UW Lab School, Laramie WY

The Historic Moment

“At this point in time it is imperative to gather with other members of this community to determine an action plan for the network. Empathy is the key to effecting change in our society and yet this core value is not taught in schools, nor is it considered worth measuring. I’d love to meet with others to think about ways to bring empathy to the forefront of the educational conversation.” Anna Allanbrook, Brooklyn New School, Brooklyn NY

“Because the time is now to make a change!  Millennials’ children are starting to enter school, and Millennial parents are not going to put up with an obsolete educational system.  I think a massive shift – the tipping point— is just around the corner, and we need to be ready to mobilize to have the new model(s) of education ready to replace the old in a few swift moves!  We can make this happen!  So let’s make a plan.” Renee Owen, Rainbow Community School, Asheville NC

“With education tethered to standards, there needs to be a set of social standards formulated around the Ashoka principles. The social standards either need to be integrated into existing curricular areas or given their appropriate importance as a stand alone. Schools are a microcosm of a bigger social picture. The needs / issues we see in schools magnify as the ripple gets further from the center. We are trying to “ripple” empathy, leadership, teamwork and problem solving. Imagine the impact if all schools spent as much time on that as they do on testing.” Jean White, Salem Hills Elementary, Inver Grove Heights MN

“The biggest aspect of my practice that I would like to improve upon and actively learn more about is how to bring this message of dynamic change and education to a bigger audience to foster lasting growth and affect. What does that look like, sound like and feel like on a grander scale? On a national level? On a global level?” Allison Slade, Namaste Charter School, Chicago IL

“To teach empathy, practice empathy. View children’s actions as efforts to connect and belong. Listen to their ideas. Ask them questions. Recognize that they walk through the door as full human beings. Act with a belief that young people have as much to teach us about empathy as we do the. Find the truth in what Azaleigha, an 8-year old Opal School student said: ‘Empathy is your heart’s art.’” – Matt Karlsen, Opal School, Portland OR

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