Oct 19, 2011

Giving College Students A Chance To Weigh In And Influence Reform Debates [Or, Well, I Think Justin's Title Says It All]


Justin Schulze is the StudentsFirst campus director at The Ohio State University. He is a senior studying International Development and Economics. He is the Vice-President of Students for Education Reform and has led numerous student organizations on campus. Justin has traveled, volunteered, and conducted research in Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Following graduation, Justin hopes to continue his work in education reform.
On college campuses across the country, autumn is a time for football games, homecoming ceremonies, and beautiful weather. It's also time for new and returning students to explore their interests and find their passion both in and out of the classroom.
Every day, more and more college students are discovering that their true passion lies in reforming our broken education system. As they pass from high school graduation to their first day in a college course, students are quickly pinpointing the ways in which the K-12 education system prepared them for success and the ways in which it failed to do so. And as students meet classmates with backgrounds different from their own, they are also finding that not everyone receives an equal education; indeed, just making it to college - let alone succeeding academically - is an improbable reality for thousands of students nationwide.
That's because so many of our education policies intended to produce results for kids are actually serving the interests of adults in the system at the expense of kids. Consider the way our education system fails to identify and reward our most effective teachers. Nearly every college student can pinpoint the best teachers they had throughout their time in school, yet only a handful of states and districts across the country actually pay the best teachers for their performance and ensure they are teaching the students who need the most help.
Fortunately, college students are finding ways to take action. Newly formed campus groups are gathering students to spread the word about the problems in education. High-performing schools are using college students as tutors, mentors and after-school volunteers. These opportunities allow students to start working on behalf of kids in their immediate communities.
Now, with "StudentsFirst on Campus," college students can work on behalf of kids at the district, state, and national level. StudentsFirst knows that just as students can easily identify their most effective teachers, they can also identify the policies that make the most sense for kids. Through "StudentsFirst on Campus," StudentsFirst is committed to helping students make their voice heard - both on the quad and at the statehouse.
College students no longer have to wait until graduation to start fixing education and improving kids' lives. We are passionate, we are energetic, and now, with "StudentsFirst on Campus," we have the tools to start transforming that passion and energy into real change. Now, we are not simply college students interested in education reform; we are education reformers building a movement to transform public education. Join us.

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