I have some concerns about the #studentvoice in #edreform

I will keep this brief. I have other things to do.

But I have some concerns that I feel like I need to air to see if I’ve got this correct or if anyone else is feeling it too.

Right now, groups on numerous sides of the education reform debate are finally asking students to speak out. There’s a bunch of different student-organized clubs or groups that advocate for education-specific causes. That’s excellent. We can’t complain if teachers are left out of the debate as we ignore students.

But I’m starting to feel icky. There’s one student advocate out there right now who will remain nameless. This person was catapulted into the spotlight, the head of every edreform table as of late. I am very excited to hear about this person. I’ve spoken to them and I look forward to meeting them in the not too distant future.

Here’s the problem I’m having. One, this individual has jumped so far ahead of the line, far ahead of other well-informed folks who’ve been at this for quite a while. I mean, I get it: students are a hip new commodity and the mainstream media loves them. Look, I’m going to say it: they’ve never actually TAUGHT. This is the same problem I have with other edreform celebs and I’m having the same issue here.

All right, two: this individual has now gone off on anti-school screeds on many occasions. As someone who does feel the genuine need for a public, free, and equitable system of education, this vexes me. I’m wondering who their influences are. Who’s the bug in his or her ear?

It takes a certain amount of privilege to opt-out of school altogether. This person likes to remind us of the fact that he or she did indeed end school early. Now they have more time to continue their advocacy and that is fine, for sure. But there are privileges with ending school to still be able to land on one’s feet.

We must not forget that when we make these arguments.

And I’m not going to name this person, so don’t even ask.

Comments

  1. You don’t have to. There are clear indicators of privilege/resources, and not-so subtle undertones of anti-teacher/union/public schools.

  2. Tmccormick says:

    You don’t need to. I agree with you entirely as I have had the same feeling. I am saddened by another angle of public school bashing – I thought there was potential for an ally there.

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