Students Tell Hundreds of Educators How To Improve Education
by Audrea Cline-Thomas
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Usually when hundreds of educators gather their discussions are full of theories, studies and statistics about ways to improve student achievement.
"We're so test oriented now that we don't know what to do," Covington High School student Rolanda Mack said.
You don't need a Harvard study to determine what students think, all you have to do is ask them.
"Everyone is equal whether you're black, brown, white or purple," Morristown West High School student Julio Salazar said.
Mack, Salazar and two other high school students, representing schools from across the state, addressed the leadership summit hosted by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE).
"I feel that it's very important for students to have a voice in what's happening in education because it affects us I'd say even more than anyone else," Salazar said.
Students never used the words Common Core, evaluations or standards while providing their insight. Instead they focused on passion.
"Students don't want to learn if you don't want to teach," Mack said. "It's very important for teachers to have that connection between students (where) students feel like they can come to them. That they are free to make mistakes (and) they have help (and) a support system."
Each student said their success had a lot to do with an educator caring enough to get to know them and tap into their potential.
"Kids are disengaged today, or students are disengaged or tuning out because we have no reason to pay attention, to care," Franklin High School student Keaton Wadzinski said. "So that's what I think we need to focus on."
The teens also say schools need to engage them through discussions.
"Teacher's aren't just telling us information and expecting us to memorize it," Mt. Juliet High School student Bailey Choudhury said about the changes she's noticed in the classroom. "They're really getting down into, what do you think?"
The students also want less focus to be placed on acing the test.
"At the end of the day I'm not an ACT score," Wadzinski added.
Simple concepts that don't show up in data, but provides a reminder for educators that in the end they're dealing with growing and evolving people.