20 Things Students Want the Nation to Know About Education

It’s rare for education reformers, policymakers, and  funders to listen to those at the heart of education reform work: The students.  In fact Ann Curry who hosted Education Nation’s first *student panel admitted folks at NBC  were a little nervous about putting kids on stage. In their “Voices of a Nation”  discussion, young people provided insight into their own experiences with  education and what they think needs to be done to ensure that every student  receives a world-class education. After the discussion Curry knew these students  didn’t disappoint. She told viewers, “Students wanted to say something that made  a difference to you (adults) and they did. Now adults need to  listen.”

Below are the sentiments shared by these current and former  students during the segment.

  1. I have to critically think in college, but  your tests don’t teach me that.
  2. We learn in different ways at different  rates.
  3. I can’t learn from you if you are not willing  to connect with me.
  4. Teaching by the book is not teaching. It’s  just talking.
  5. Caring about each student is more important  than teaching the class.
  6. Every young person has a dream. Your job is  to help bring us closer to our dreams.
  7. We need more than teachers. We need life  coaches.
  8. The community should become more involved in  schools.
  9. Even if you don’t want to be a teacher, you  can offer a student an apprenticeship.
  10. Us youth love all the new technologies that  come out. When you acknowledge this and use technology in your teaching it makes  learning much more interesting.
  11. You should be trained not just in teaching  but also in counseling.
  12. Tell me something good that I’m doing so that  I can keep growing in that.
  13. When you can feel like a family member it  helps so much.
  14. We appreciate when you connect with us in our  worlds such as the teacher who provided us with extra help using Xbox and  Skype
  15. Our teachers have too many students to enable  them to connect with us in they way we need them to.
  16. Bring the electives that we are actually  interested in back to school. Things like drama, art, cooking, music.
  17. Education leaders, teachers, funders, and  policy makers need to start listening to student voice in all areas including  teacher evaluations.
  18. You need to use tools in the classroom that  we use in the real world like Facebook, email, and other tools we use to connect  and communicate.
  19. You need to love a student before you can  teach a student.
  20. We do tests to make teachers look good and  the school look good, but we know they don’t help us to learn what’s important  to us.