How to Reform Schools

Everyone agrees that education needs reform. Students, teachers, parents, and everyday citizens all agree that schools need to change, but how? Apparently not everyone an agree on that. It’s actually surprising how many different ways people think schools should be reformed and function. Some organizations advocate for curriculum reform. Some advocate for student voice and student involvement in the running of schools. Some advocate for social justice and diversity. And others advocate for specific programs like writing, extra-curricular, and aid programs. Personally, i have a hard time deciding which way is the best. I can see where each group is coming from and understand why they think that their particular issue is most important. However, after reading through several websites that advocate for education reform, i can see my viewpoint shifting. Instead of choosing one way that is best, why can we not implement multiple modalities and areas of concentration in education reform in the same way that we would implement students, teachers, parents, and administrators ideas, and curriculum content into a single lesson.

Rethinking Schools is an organization that advocates for racial equity, diversity, humane practices, and democratic processes in the classroom. Rethinking schools puts out magazines and books with articles written by its supporters and leaders. Apart from donating to the cause, writing your own article about an issue in education that speaks to you, is probably the best way to get involved and participate in the movement. Rethinking Schools’ ultimate goal  is “The Common School”. A school that allows and nurtures the learning, interaction, and connection between diverse students with different backgrounds as students talk, play, and work together. Rethinking Schools also emphasizes democracy, and that the only way to instigate change and reform education, and even our society, is to work hard and make it happen.

The National Writing Project believes that reading and writing are extremely important at every grade level, and in every subject area. Through inservice programs, training programs, and “teacher-consultants”, the National Writing Project has been proven to increase performance in writing among students whose teachers participated in National Writing Project programs. The National Writing Project believes that it is the duty of teachers to be well informed upon, and to integrate both the practice and the study of the art of writing in classrooms across the board. The National Writing Project asks for donations to support the cause, but i wish that there was a more concrete way for me to get involved.

Students For Reform is a grassroots, social justice movement. College students learn about issues that are important to them and to the lives of students around the country, and complete project to raise awareness, implement change, and instigate education reform in all types of districts, states, and communities. Students For Reform is different from The National Writing Project and Rethinking Schools because it not only advocates for active student involvement in education reform, but was created and is led by college students around the country. Students For Reform believes that college students are uniquely positioned to both understand the needs of students and have the knowledge and power to instigate reform. I really liked that apart from asking for donations, Students For Reform gave me information on how to start my own chapter of the organization and bring educational reform into my community. Students For Reform thinks that education and schools should be affordable, applicable, and that teachers are responsible for providing good education to their students.

After exploring these websites i came to the conclusion that i couldn’t really pick just one way to reform education. Personally, i think that Students For Reform is the most relevant and self-aware organization out of the ones i researched. They seem to have a better handle on how and why education reform needs to happen. The National Writing Project and Rethinking Schools, while effective and important in their own ways, seem closed off and not interested in what students and the average citizen has to say about the way we run schools in America.


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