Replacing the Race: Irvington High School

Spoken-word poet Suli Breaks became an internet sensation after his video "Why I Hate School But Love Education" went viral with nearly 5 million views. The video was Suli's heartfelt protest against an education system that too often squelches the joy out of learning and leaves our children feeling like they'll never measure up. His message speaks to the heart of the work we do, and we were honored when the community at Irvington High School in Fremont, CA invited our team to watch him share his message with students and staff.   


Through inspirational poems and personal stories, Suli implored students to resist the trappings of an achievement-obsessed education culture. He reminded them that grades and test scores are not a reflection of who they are or their potential. Instead, he encouraged them to question these structures and to take ownership over their education: "If you enjoy it, pursue it."  Students responded with a standing ovation.

Check out an excerpt from Suli’s performance:


Hosting Suli's performance is part of a larger initiative at Irvington High School to infuse joy back into the classroom experience. Earlier this year, students, parents and educators formed the Edjoycation Task Force to brainstorm ways to reduce student stress like limiting homework to meaningful assignments, instituting music-friendly study sessions and introducing meditation seminars. The day after Suli's  performance, the school decided to open a broader education conversation by hosting a Replace the Race event. This was a chance for the wider community to reflect on what students are getting out of school, what can be better and what actions they can take to create change.



You, too, can join Suli, Irvington and the hundreds of other schools participating in the Replace the Race campaign. To host an event, just pick a time and place, and we'll send you three short films and all materials you need to start an honest dialogue in your community.  

Make your voice heard like Suli. Together, we can bring sanity and humanity back to our schools.

Learn how you can be part of the Replace the Race campaign.

Watch more of Suli's videos here:

I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate

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