HYH: Student Voices and Lawrence, Mass
The episode features Jennifer Berkshire and Aaron French on their first road trip, for which they head to Lawrence, Massachusetts. Berkshire notes that while the ed debates are "all about the kids," it's rare that the kids' voices are actually heard. And Lawrence makes an interesting destination because the state took over the schools about five years ago.
We find our intrepid podcasters in the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence, surrounded by students who are writing responses to the question, "What is education?"
But what they're really talking about is finding a voice, and expressing that voice through writing. "I was angry about a lot of things," says one student, in particular noting "decisions that were made for me" without ever involving her in the process. This is a student-run workshop, even though there are some adults present.
"You don't get many opportunities to experience something bigger than yourself," says one writer in reference to an open-mic night at a local spot, and that really hits me as I listen, because school really ought to provide many of the Bigger Than Yourself opportunities. This is one of the less-often-mentioned aspects of test-driven standards-centered ed reform-- the whole education process has been shrunk down from the business of finding things in the world that are bigger than yourself to a tiny, cramped activity that isn't bigger than anybody.
I'm also struck by how specific this is. Students are largely Dominican immigrants who find CURMUDGUCATION: HYH: Student Voices and Lawrence, Mass: