Listen to Students

Just read this in today’s ProJo:

“Looking back, Hope High School was Brady’s albatross. When the district announced that Hope, a poster child for urban school reform, was moving from an innovative schedule of longer classes to a traditional six-period day, the students revolted. They crowded School Board meetings, marched out of school en masse and eventually sued the district.

Brady now concedes he was wrong.

‘I didn’t listen to the kids enough,’ he said. ‘In hindsight, I would have come up with a compromise and let the kids keep what they thought was their magic.’ “

To all of Providence and Rhode Island’s education policy-makers, PLEASE, take this to heart. No standardized test data, no Broad fellowship course, no ed reform plan will ever be able to tell you what is best for students better than students themselves.

Listen to students’ voices. They know more than you ever will about their schools, about what helps them learn and what doesn’t, about what they need to thrive. Just listen to what they’re saying.

I don’t want any of you to retire full of regret.

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Aaron Regunberg is a community organizer in Providence and a state representative in House District 4.

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