Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Youth Voices Forum, part 1

esterday, I particiated in Young Voices' Forum in which youth researchers presented their findings on what's happening in Providence schools. Around 125 youth and adults gathered to hear their presentation; we then broke in to small groups to review their five suggestions for change, with the charge to narrow them down to three, for which action groups will be established to create change.

The five issues were:
equitable funding formula
relevant, meaningful curriculum
academically challening, college-prep-for-all curriculum
high quality teachers
engaged parents and families

It wasn't clear which emerged as the top three though I believe equitable funding formula was high on most groups' list, and several groups repeated the suggestion to combine the 2 charges for curriculum, which I strongly support.

The work that these students have done for a year to get to this point has been impressive. They've interviewed a wide cross section of Providence high school students and have reviewed existing studies of the state of education in Providence. They're creating themselves as advocates for change around specific issues, and will be a strong player in building the demand for change.

On 2/10, we'll reconvene to learn which emerged as the top 3 issues and to plan steps for action. I'm looking forward to it. 4:30-7:00 at Cooley High School--even if you weren't there the first time, join in on this discussion about what's happening in our schools from the perspective of students, who know best what's happening and who are eager to create positive change.

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