Improving Students' Research Skills
New Tests Raise Expectations Across the Grades
The sixth-graders at Genesee Community Charter School in Rochester, N.Y., wanted a skateboard park, so they decided to make their case to city officials.
The students had met with representatives from youth and recreation organizations and knew that some members of the community were leery of the idea because they were concerned about the potential for crime and saw little benefit. So the students got to work. Over the course of the 2011–2012 school year, they analyzed economic data and found evidence that skate parks around the United States had actually generated development around them. They looked through crime data and found that while there was some evidence of vandalism and public smoking and drinking, there was little evidence of violent crime. And they interviewed officials from other cities that had skate parks, including Louisville, Phoenix, Sacramento, and San Diego. In the end, the students presented their research to city officials, showing that skate parks provide economic benefits and do not contribute to increased crime.