Their demands should spark discussion and then positive change in the NYC Public School system. It's good to know grass roots efforts are organizing to protect our public schools system. Hopefully the public will be more vigilant and prevent abuses like the latest fiasco where legislators classified pizza as a vegetable to increase pizza sales to public school. And then we wonder why we have an obesity problem in America!!!!
Good luck to the student activists.
By Jorge Rivas
A group of young activists from the Bronx called say they’re being deprived of a quality education, and they’re prepared to fight for something better. The Resistance, which was formed through a youth arts organization called The DreamYard A.C.T.I.O.N Project, have developed a 10-point education platform for New York City public schools. The group has also launched a Facebook page to support their efforts. They’re demanding the following reforms:
1. We demand free quality education as a right guaranteed by the US Constitution.
2. We demand the dismantling of Bloomberg’s Panel for Educational Policy. We demand a new 13 member community board to run our public schools (comprised of parents, educators, education experts, community members, and a minimum of 5 student representatives).
3. We demand quality instruction. Teachers should ethnically, culturally, and racially reflect the student body. We demand experienced teachers who have a history of teaching students well. Teacher training should be intensive and include an apprenticeship with master teachers as well as experiences with the communities where the school is located.
4. We demand stronger extra-curricular activities to help stimulate and spark interest in students. Students should have options, opportunities, and choice in their education.
5. We demand a healthy, safe environment that does not expect our failure or anticipate our criminality. We demand a school culture that acknowledges our humanity (free of metal detectors, untrained and underpaid security guards, and abusive tactics).
6. We demand that all NYC public school communities foster structured and programmatic community building so that students, teachers, and staff learn in an environment that is respectful and safe for all.
7. We demand small classes. Class sizes should be humane and productive. We demand that the student to teacher ratio for a mainstream classroom should be no more than 15:1.
8. We demand student assessments and evaluations that reflect the variety of ways that we learn and think (portfolio assessments, thesis defenses, anecdotal evaluations, written exams). Student success should not depend solely on high stakes testing.
9. We demand a stop to the attack on our schools. If a school is deemed “failing”, we demand a team of qualified and diverse experts to assess how such schools can improve and the resources to improve them.
10. We demand fiscal equity for NYC public schools: as stated in the Education Budget and Reform Act of 2007 by the NYS Legislature, NYC public schools have been inadequately and inequitably funded. We demand the legislatively mandated $7 billion dollars in increased annual state education aid to be delivered to our schools now!