Youth Taking The Lead

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“[S]he who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as [s]he who helps to perpetrate it. [S]he who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Students Protest School Closings

Photo Credit: Media Mobilizing Project

Photo Credit: Media Mobilizing Project


I have always admired the work Philadelphia Student Union has done. I remember they were one of the groups I discovered in the early days of my blog, and I wanted nothing more but to drop out of college and join these students in the struggle. I talk about them often, and if you haven’t already, go to their website RIGHT NOW (I caps locked that, that’s when you know it’s serious). See what amazing things they’ve been able to accomplish. Anyway, just to add onto their great list, they held a student apocalypse in response to the 37 schools in their community set to close.


Photo Credit: Media Mobilizing Project

Photo Credit: Media Mobilizing Project




Sumter, South Carolina – Students Standing Up For Their Teachers


Blake Ward
Photo Credit: The Item


Lance Foxworth
Photo Credit: The Item

Remorsefully, that is becoming almost abnormal for any student to feel that way. Never in 12 years of our academic careers (all of which has taken place within Sumter School District) has there been so much hopelessness for the future of our school district.

Every day, we see teachers – men and women that have worked hard for college degrees in their fields in order to earn an honest living and obtain a better quality of life – who are afraid to teach in comfort for the fear of being reprimanded by an administrator or a district official with a pen and checklist.

Every day, we see teachers who have sadness in their eyes because they know that the teaching techniques they are forced to use are not truly what is best for the students.

I have written about Blake Ward before, and the brave steps he has taken to bring to light what is going on in his small town of Sumter. Blake is a high school senior who is a founder and current co-chair of the Sumter School District Student Coalition. Blake and his other co-chair, Lance Foxworth, wrote an Op-Ed to their local paper, “The Item.” I can’t encourage you enough to read what these two students have to say, and the fear they have for the path their district is taking. As things move forward, we are hoping Students United for Public Education (SUPE) can initiate a National Campaign to put the pressure on his school board officials to be held accountable for their actions–if you are interested in helping build this campaign, please reach out to:





Red Bank, New Jersey – 19 Year Old Socialist Takes NJ School Board Seat

Photo Credit: Pat Noble, New Jersey's Elected Socialist Facebook Page

Photo Credit: Pat Noble, New Jersey’s Elected Socialist Facebook Page

Can I get a woot woot for New Jersey? (I swear, the more comfortable I am getting with you all, the dorkier I get). Anyway, seriously, how awesome is this?! Some may know already about my interest in running for the school board seat in New Brunswick in this upcoming April\November election, so already seeing another young-adult folk catching some attention on an NJ school board is really exhilarating. Exciting things for NJ and Education indeed.

“Noble plans to focus on several areas as a school board member, including the promotion of LGBT issues in sex education classes, banning military recruiters from schools, opposing merit pay for teachers and fighting budget cuts.

Noble is not the first teenager with ties to far left groups to win a school board seat in the U.S. In 2005, Shane Brinton, an 18-year-old who had been involved with local Communist Party anti-war activities, was elected to the North Humboldt Union High School Board of Education in northern California. “

[Full Article Can be Read Here]



Well there you have it. Just a few of the many phenomenal things happening in regards to students taking risks and standing up for  education in their community. In addition, make sure to check out this fantastic post in The Nation by James Cersonsky, Dispatches From the US Student Movement. Believe in student apathy? Think again. See what students across the nation are also making noise about, and see what they are successfully getting done.

25 thoughts on “Youth Taking The Lead

  1. Something similar happened a few years ago when the school cuts in Virginia got really bad. An elementary school student started making bracelets in support of funding public education and teachers, administrators and others held a rally on the capitol grounds in Richmond seeking better funding.

  2. This is a very inspiring post, dense with hope and meaning. I’ve been contemplating the importance of education a lot recently, and what some parents have to sacrifice to give their children opportunities they never had…and yet only to find the system is being broken and the teachers too, which breaks my heart. All power to you all…you give me hope! Go for it!!!

  3. This is so encouraging. I remember waaaay back when I was a high school student, that unpleasant feeling that I was at the mercy of those in authority. But there’s strength in numbers, which, when approached from a good and pure place, can clearly affect change. Wonderful post. Congratulations.

  4. Until the country decides that education is a value it cannot ignore, we will continue down this path of corporatizing education to the tune of millions in profit to test/textbook industries. My thanks to the willing teachers and students making visible the greed that has capsized an institution that once upheld a belief that an educated citizen was the only hope for democracy.

  5. How fantastic! It is so inspiring to see students getting involved in their community and taking a stand for what they believe in. Too many times we hear stories about our troubled youth, but there are so many wonderful young people doing great things in their communities and contributing in a positive way to society.

  6. All this tells me is the adults just are not good enough to fight their own battles. What youth would support a adult that can’t fight their own battles? That to me is one weak ass adult.

  7. I really (ReALLY) want to like this post. It’s not because I disagree. As a repeatedly out-of-work teacher, I have developed a sense of fatalism that students don’t have yet. I have lost the “whatever-the-cost”, “united-we-stand” idealism you’re describing. I meet interns and I feel bad for them, they have no idea what they’re being shielded from. They don’t NEED the job yet. Most don’t have families to feed. And they don’t realize the competition is not just their fellow interns, but also those already in the system with “connections” who lost their 401Ks a few years ago–so they can’t retire. Most don’t have any idea that when they get that teaching job, the amount of non-teaching-related paperwork and administrative (CYA) documentation that sucks the life out of the passion. Depressing, yes; yet this is the truth.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s