Harvard Educational Review
  1. Summer 2009 Issue »

    Youth Voices

    Hope for Education Reform

    Kyle Glavey-Weiss
    8th grade, MS 245 The Computer School, New York, New York

    For a long time American schools have fallen behind. For too long our education has been stressed and ineffective. Our education system in America is at rock bottom. Without proper education, there is no advance in knowledge.  Without advance in knowledge, there is no evolution in society. Without evolution
    in society, there is no hope of solutions. Without hope for solutions, the human race is bound to be compromised.

    Our country is in a dire situation. At this moment of extreme stress and conflicts, the economy, climate change, and wars, our education has plummeted. This plummet in knowledge has triggered most of these conflicts. Our country is in need of reform.

    Reform needs to start at the beginning stages. Like an epidemic, the problem needs to be halted at the source. We need to start reform from the earliest education of preschool, to the highest education of master’s and PhDs, and everything in the middle. There is a key correlation between conflicts in the world and the downhill slope of education. The black diamond of education needs to be replaced by the lift of intellect. For the past decade, I have seen no hope. For once in a long time, I see a sparkle of it on the horizon.

    Our school and education system needs to be scratched and started over. Instead of punishing the low-performing schools, we need to support them. Instead of constantly testing students and putting their whole education on multiple choice answers, we need to have the students and teachers ensconced in the art of learning. For the past eight years we have been under siege from NCLB. The No Child Left Behind program was good in intentions but did not work. Now, the reform of America’s education has started with a single election.

    The election of President Barack Obama is a huge success. He has not only promised the reform of education, but has explained in detail how he would accomplish his goals. Obama (2008) said once, “We need real commitment to education; instead we got NCLB.” We now have that real commitment.

    I am in the eighth grade and have taken countless standardized tests. I have grown up around them and all I’ve learned was the process of elimination. I can now use that skill to find the answer to education reform. Choice A: Stick with NCLB and take standardized test classes instead of real learning. Choice
    B: Elect McCain and most likely stick with the same failed policies. Choice C: Elect a real leader of reform and change.

    Let’s use the process of elimination. Choice A is eliminated because we have been there and done that, and it doesn’t work. Choice B: the same failed politics has a keyword—failed politics. That leaves us with the last choice: Choice C.

    Now that we have narrowed down that right answer, let’s fill in the bubble. It needs to be filled in completely with a number-two pencil. Barack Obama is that pencil and the precision of his actions is the bubble filled in completely. We cannot sidetrack or miss a spot. We need to be thorough. We finally have
    our answer and now let’s start filling in the bubble.
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    Summer 2009 Issue

    Abstracts

    Editors’ Introduction
    Note to Educators
    Hope Required When Growing Roses in Concrete
    Jeffrey M. R. Duncan-Andrade
    A Dialogue
    Our Selves, Our Students, and Obama
    Jennifer McLaughlin and Kim Kelly
    President Obama and Education
    The Possibility for Dramatic Improvements in Teaching and Learning
    Linda Darling-Hammond
    Promise and Peril
    Charter Schools, Urban School Reform, and the Obama Administration
    Charles Payne and Tim Knowles
    Reclaiming Our Freedom to Teach
    Education Reform in the Obama Era
    Megan Behrent
    Obama’s Dilemma
    Postpartisan Politics and the Crisis of American Education
    Henry A. Giroux
    Second-Class Integration
    A Historical Perspective for a Contemporary Agenda
    Vanessa Siddle Walker
    Equity and Empathy
    Toward Racial and Educational Achievement in the Obama Era
    Prudence L. Carter
    It Wasn’t Easy to Get Here
    Kathleen Mayse
    Obama, Where Art Thou?
    Hoping for Change in U.S. Education Policy
    Wayne Au
    Praise Song for Teachers
    A Call to Action
    Ariane White
    Educating Latino Immigrant Students in the Twenty-First Century
    Principles for the Obama Administration
    Carola Suárez-Orozco and Marcelo Suárez-Orozco
    Education for Everyday People
    Obstacles and Opportunities Facing the Obama Administration
    Gloria Ladson-Billings
    An Insurrectionary Generation
    Young People, Poverty, Education, and Obama
    Jay Gillen
    An Earned Insurgency
    Quality Education as a Constitutional Right
    Robert P. Moses
    Barack Obama and the Fight for Public Education
    William Ayers
    Coda: The Slow Fuse of Change
    Obama, the Schools, Imagination, and Convergence
    Maxine Greene