In September, After School Vice President Jeff Collins joined tech industry leaders in co-signing an open letter to President Trump criticizing his decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. The letter called on Congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle to come together to pass a bipartisan Dream Act.
Collins, who previously served as U.S. Diplomat and national security official, recently joined Edmodo CEO Vibhu Mittal on the EdSurge’s podcast to discuss the DACA letter, and more generally, how the tech industry approaches policy issues.
Collins explained at the beginning of the conversation why After School cares about DACA, saying, “We’re made up of a number of immigrants, and a pretty diverse group of people,” and “we think DACA is really representative of our values as both individuals and a company. Openness, inclusion and compassion are very important to us, as well as hard work and talent.”
Mittal explained that for him and Edmodo, “Being able to see someone else’s viewpoint is important.” Mittal continued, saying that when their company feels that the thoughts of those involved in an issue aren’t being heard, like in the case of getting rid of DACA, that “it was important for us to participate at that point.”
Collins also believes that tech companies, by nature, believe in inclusion. “Tech has a global mentality that doesn’t necessarily think of things in terms of borders, but thinks about things in terms of what is possible and how can we do things by including more people instead of excluding people,” said Collins.
Mittal concluded his thoughts by emphasizing what he hopes comes out of discussions and increased conversation around controversial topics like the ending of DACA. “I would like nothing more than every kid, and every teacher to believe that their voice makes a difference.” Collins agreed, saying, “The most important thing we can do is to teach young people starting at a very young age to think about issues in a critical way and to have discussions and to take an interest in their community and in civic society.”
Listen to the full episode, Pick Your Battles: Edtech Leaders Share Strategies for Engaging in Political Discourse, on the EdSurge Podcast here.