recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : nikhilgoyal   5

After a String of Suicides, Students in Palo Alto Are Demanding a Part in Reforming Their School's Culture | VICE | United States
"There are a few encouraging signs that the community is coming around to recognizing and ultimately fixing these flaws. In March, the school board voted to allocate $250,000 of the district's budget to hiring two more full-time therapists for the high schools, which will relieve the strained workload of the counseling staff. At Gunn, students took the matter of improving mental health into their own hands, organizing the Student Wellness Committee with the help of Herrmann. It organically grew out of their discussions on what needed to change at the school after Cameron Lee's death. One of the things they set up was a referral box, which allowed students to anonymously refer their friends to counseling. "A startling number of people have told me that they wouldn't talk to a counselor if they had a friend who was in trouble," Gunn sophomore class president Chloe Chang Sorensen explained.

The committee also launched a mental health awareness campaign to educate students about causes, symptoms, and resources available to them. And finally, the committee collaborated with an organization called Youth Empowerment Seminar (YES!) to implement a mindfulness curriculum in physical education classes starting in the fall. These students were not interested in waiting for the adults to act. They made themselves into agents of change."



"Students were not willing to passively accept the superintendent's decision. Two Gunn juniors, Ben Lee and Nina Shirole, co-founded the Palo Alto Student Union to advocate for and promote the student voice. They put up posters with the words SUPPORT STUDENT CHOICE, SUPPORT STUDENT VOICE all over Gunn. And many teachers supported their efforts. With the superintendent sitting behind him on stage, retiring Gunn mathematics teacher Peter Herreshoff said in a speech at graduation, "Your class this year witnessed the imposition of an unjust policy regarding zero period. Although it didn't affect you directly, you united in solidarity with future graduating classes to oppose that policy. Although you didn't win, yet, you learned about taking agency over your lives and working collectively to do that." The student union considered holding a student walkout over the zero-period change but ultimately decided to host a sit-in at a school-board meeting.

A few weeks after the decision was announced, dozens of students attended a Tuesday-evening board meeting. This was the meeting at which zero period was originally meant to be discussed, but McGee had unexpectedly made a unilateral decision beforehand. One after another, students came up to the podium and blasted the superintendent. Gunn senior and school-board student representative Rose Weinmann called the move "misguided paternalism." What students were most peeved about was that the zero-period decision was orchestrated in a top-down manner without their consultation. Ben Lee told me later, "We were blatantly disregarded by the community. It was good to show that we weren't lesser beings. We were going to fight for our right to be heard." He believes that the decision was rashly made to "appease a few people." Shirole also thinks it's a contradiction that physical education and broadcasting classes during zero period will remain when the underlying intention of the change was to help all students get more sleep. And she says the research on later start times does not "account for the element of choice," as zero period is optional."
nikhilgoyal  paloalto  suicide  education  schools  2015  culture  society  siliconvalley  mentalhealth  academics  gunnhighschool  depression  anxiety  stress  parenting  studentvoice  studentchoice 
december 2015 by robertogreco
This Teen Wants to Abolish School as We Know It | VICE United States
"Q: You seem to be going in a more radical direction. I take it you’re not going to quote [New York Times columnist] Tom Friedman in the second book then?
A: That’s definitely not going to happen. I didn’t read much about capitalism or neoliberalism. I didn’t know as much back then. That’s something I find particularly interesting because I see that many young politically minded people who support the Democratic Party gain their knowledge on issues by reading the opinion pages of the New York Times and Washington Post, which espouse militaristic, neoliberal nonsense. And that's what I did for some time. So I didn’t understand the structural, institutional problems as I do now.

Q: How does having a more holistic view of how schools fit in the institution of capitalism informed your critique of schools? I mean, it seems to be why there’s such a focus on math and science test scores and keeping up with India and China.
A: Even back then, I was very much skeptical of these international comparisons, but I hadn’t understood how it fit into a larger framework and narrative. Now I see that, for example, what’s happening in Chicago and Philadelphia and other cities, there's a neoliberal assault on public education. And I connected the fact that the tenets of capitalism were seeping into the sphere of education. That’s given me a lot more insight into why these so-called “reformers” are making these suggestions.

Q: And actually making things worse, in your view.
A: Much, much worse.

Q: You’re not a reformer. In fact, you say you’re a revolutionary. So let’s say I name you superintendent-for-life. What are the major, structural things you would address right away?
A: A lot of my research and reporting over the last two, three years has looked at many unconventional, alternative schools. In the early 1900s, in Spain, there were a lot of schools known as “Anarchist Free Schools.” Many of them later sprung up in the 1960s and 1970s in the United States. These types of schools basically shun every principle of traditional education. They believe that children are natural learners. They believe that children should be trusted and have a voice. There should be democratic processes within the school itself. There shouldn't be any of these arbitrary features such as grades and tests; that children should just have freedom.

I’ve visited a number of these schools that are outside the framework of traditional education. The problem is that the ones we have today are mainly private schools. They’re not as accessible to low-income kids. But there are a couple of them that are not as radical but are publicly funded. The results have been extraordinary. One of them is a school in Philadelphia called “The Workshop School.” This is a project-based learning school particularly for low-income, minority children."



"Q: Kids who are caught up in this public school system that is stifling their creativity—what advice do you have for them? How do you get through the system without being crushed by it?
A: It’s a question I get a lot from young people. It’s very difficult because, by law, if you’re a certain age you’re forced to attend school. You have no other choice. But the system, as oppressive as it is, there are some loopholes. If your family is affluent enough, you can go to one of these really great free, democratic schools that I mentioned. And there are some school districts, not as many today as there were in the 1970s, which have programs for kids who are failing or who have behavioral issues—it’s funny because these programs are actually so much better than what the other kids have to go through. You could try to graduate early. There’s homeschooling. But it’s very difficult to pursue alternatives within the current confines of the system.

Q: A lot of people say charter schools are an alternative.
A: I don’t support the privatization of education. There are some good charter schools out there, but I’m very wary of them. They often leave out kids with learning disabilities. They expel kids at very high rates. They send out kids who don’t test well. So there’s a lot of discriminatory and just really awful practices that they partake in to maintain a really homogenous population of students who just test well. I live in Woodbury, New York. You’ll never find a charter school trying to make its way into this privileged community. You really only find them in poor black and brown communities.

Q: And you’re suggesting they siphon off the best students and artificially inflate their test scores, because they’re for-profit institutions and that’s the best way to secure more contracts.
A: It’s strings attached, in terms of their funding, for a lot of them. They have to meet certain test scores; it just turns into this ruthless test-preparation factory."
nikhilgoyal  charlesdavis  2014  unschooling  deschooling  education  edreform  reform  schools  policy  compulsory  privatization  democraticschools  freeschools  charterschools 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Students For Education Reform? Not the Change We Need | Education on GOOD
"It all began in early August of this year. Stephanie Rivera, a student at Rutgers University and future teacher, published a gutsy, investigative piece uncovering the lunacy behind Students for Education Reform, an organization founded by two Princeton students, Catharine Bellinger and Alexis Morin. I highly suggest you read it yourself, but the commentary struck a profound chord with me for a number of reasons.

SFER has rolled out its corporate reform agenda onto over a hundred college campuses across the nation, which includes defending the takeover of public schools by charters and teacher evaluation systems that tie salaries to test scores. Don't believe me? Bellinger and Morin, marionettes of the likes of Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee, Wendy Kopp, and Eli Broad, are now forcing some chapters to sign onto agreements that they carry out the mission of SFER—this was, not surprisingly, uncovered by Rivera.

SFER's primary mission is to close the achievement gap, but as education historian Camika Royal writes (referring to those who generally use the term), the organization only "speaks of academic outcomes, not the conditions that led to those outcomes, nor does it acknowledge that the outcomes are a consequence of those conditions." Where do they address on their site the putrid effects of poverty on schooling? They don't."



"In terms of funding, Education Reform Now gave SFER and Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst—or as I like to call it StudentsLast—over $1.6 million in 2010. Remember, this is an organization whose PAC is DFER, a group bankrolled by Wall Street hedge-fund titans, moguls, and a number of billionaires. That's not to mention that SFER's board members include evangelists of KIPP and Teach for America. Many of these college students do not realize they are literally being bought out. Both Bellinger and Morin are in bed with these organizations."



"A question I'd like to ask is: What is in the water at Princeton University? Two epitomes of failure in educational change—first Teach for America and now Students for Education Reform. Please, make it stop.

Educators, administrators, parents, I beg for you to not think for a second that SFER represents the voice of students. It doesn't. It is instead a mob of baby sheep, educated in obedience and submission, kowtowing to the forces that seek to obliterate public education. As a student, it's shameful and degrading watching these delinquents bash the very people who educated them, call for evaluations that reduce children to numbers, and allow for corporations and billionaires to wither away our democracy. It's a national disgrace.

Longtime teacher Susan Ohanian put it beautifully, "Either you join the revolution or you stand against the needs of children and democracy." Wake the hell up, America."
2013  nikhilgoyal  studentsforeducationreform  edreform  stephanierivera  catahrinebellinger  alexismorin  princeton  joelklein  michellerhee  wendykopp  kipp  tfa  elibroad  sfer  danagoldsteinsusanohanian  privatization  povery  schools  education  policy  testing  standardizetesting  teachforamerica  charterschools 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Innovation in Education | Fast Company
"Nikhil Goyal, student and author of One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student's Assessment of School:

1. Make cities our classrooms. … projects, apprenticeships, working with mentors, and traveling … community should be our curriculum …

2. Swap pedagogy for andragogy. We need to switch from pedagogy (teacher-focused) to andragogy (adult-leading). In this model of education, children have control, they are motivated intrinsically, and the curriculum is problem- rather than content-orientated. We need to have young people become the captains of their learning. …

3. Hike teacher pay and end market-based rewards. …

Gever Tulley, founder, Brightworks and the Tinkering School:

1. Focus on microschools: Schools don't have to be big. The hyper-local micro-school can compete on a financial basis while delivering a more engaging learning experience.

2. Make room for alternative schools. …

3. Treat education as a regular practice like exercise, not as a phase. …"
pbl  projectbasedlearning  projects  making  tinkering  tinkeringschool  brightworks  pedagogy  process  practice  practices  howwelearn  mentorship  mentorships  mentors  mentoring  apprenticeships  urbanism  urban  cities  cityasclassroom  andragogy  alted  alternative  deschooling  unschooling  2012  teaching  georgeparker  michellerhee  gevertulley  cv  schools  education  learning  openstudioproject  lcproject  nikhilgoyal 
november 2012 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read