On Wednesday, November 28th, I spent the day talking with high school students at the ACLU’s 8th “Youth Social Justice Forum.” Attended by over 400 high school students, subjects included-
- police oversight
- gay rights
- student rights
In a workshop on the Y.E.S. “Student Bill of Rights” discussion was lively with both praise and criticism of MPS schools and classrooms.
Many students spoke of good teachers that care about them and go the extra mile to help them succeed. At the same time there was a theme describing some teachers that was universally agreed on by students. One MPS student, whom I asked to write out his views, said-
“I’m a student that takes pride in my education at school and everywhere else. So I have a great interest in anyone who wants to teach me. Throughout my entire high school career I have noticed educators that are not teaching students to the best of their ability. I call them ‘textbook teachers.’ These are teachers that rely on textbooks to do their job for them. They say ‘read these pages, answer these questions.’ They just give us book work.”
It became clear to me through the course of the discussion that students want teachers to work hard at teaching all students, whatever their learning style. They want teachers to “know them as person.” They “want and expect better.”
Students felt that some teachers are already there but all teachers need to be on board.
There was universal criticism of cafeteria food.
To get a picture of a day of great activities, view the following pdf: