Dec 30, 2011

College Students Organizing To Support Reform (Even Though We Don't Really Know What That Means. We're Too Young And Inexperienced)

George Hornedo is currently a junior at Cornell University and has taken a semester off to intern at the White House. George joined StudentsFirst because he believes we need to create a more equitable public education system for all children.
Zak Newman is currently a junior at Yale University. During his last spring break he shadowed an 8th grade teacher in in Hartford’s inner city. During that time, he noticed that she had very little support or feedback about her work. Zak believes that a great education is key to ending poverty and we must support teachers to have a quality education system.

We came to StudentsFirst as interns last year because we both believed that every child deserves a quality education and we knew there were many things standing in the way of that. When we started, we realized that there was a critical group underrepresented in the reform movement: college students. Every day, we read letters from students wanting to get involved and wanting to make sure all young people get the same opportunities to go to college that they had. As recent graduates of our nation’s K-12 system, college students have especially strong and insightful views on improving public education.

With this in mind, we launched StudentsFirst on Campus in October at Cornell University to a packed crowd of more than 500 students and community members. The campus outreach arm of the organization, StudentsFirst on Campus is an opportunity for college students across the country to work with this bipartisan grassroots movement on their campuses.

The Campus Directors have accomplished so much since the launch last October. In just two short months, our four Campus Directors have organized 25 events across the country with local and national partners, brought in more than 1,000 new StudentsFirst members and have become leaders in education in their communities.

For example,
  • At The Ohio State University, Campus Director Justin Schulze, organized an “Innovative Pathways to Teaching Fair” for students to learn about teaching opportunities available to them from Teach for America and various teaching fellowships.
  • At Morehouse College, Campus Director Jonathan Wall hosted a Waiting for Superman screening with other student groups to introduce people to some of the issues behind this movement.
  • At Cornell University, Campus Director Geoffrey Block helped organize the StudentsFirst on Campus launch, during which Michelle Rhee spoke to a packed crowd at her alma mater about the need for college students to get involved in education reform.
  • At the University of San Diego, Campus Director Mariko Peshon helped organize the first stop of the StudentsFirst California Listening Tour in which Michelle Rhee heard what southern Californians had to say about the policies and practices working for and against kids in their communities.
With the spring semester coming up, we’re looking to bring on more dedicated and passionate students to the StudentsFirst on Campus team. Campus Director applications are available now and are due on Friday, January 16. We believe that the next generation of education leadership will put an end to income and race-based gaps in student achievement. We hope that you will help carry that vision forward.

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