Adults in the White House, Congress, think tanks, principals’ offices, teachers’ unions, and other Very Important Positions are fighting over how to educate kids. But what do teenagers think about the education we’re getting?
This hour, we take you back to school – public high school, to be precise.
Teenagers share our stories, in our words.
We dissect school standards that are too hard, or too easy. We get educated in an unequal public school system, and make decisions for what comes next after high school.
Stories in the program:
1. Amon "AJ" Frazier, 'Promotion In Doubt' WNYC's Radio Rookies http://www.prx.org/pieces/46796-promotion-in-doubt
Amon 'AJ' Frazier was trying to get through eighth grade when New York City's Department of Education made it harder to move up to the next grade. AJ wasn't sure he could pass, but as he found out, the new standards were more flexible than they seemed. AJ created this story for WNYC's "Radio Rookies" when he was 14 years old.
2. Libby Donovan, 'These Kids Didn't Want To Be There, And I Did' (Orig. 'I Was a Slacker in the Top Ten'), Blunt Youth Radio Project http://www.prx.org/pieces/46381-i-was-a-slacker-in-the-top-10
Many American high schools put students in 'tracks' based on academic achievement. But at South Portland High School in Maine, students of all abilities were mixed together in the classroom. Libby Donovan was not pleased. She made this story when she was 19, for the Blunt Youth Radio Project.
3. Amanda Wells, 'The Night I Met Jonathan Kozol,' KRCB Voice of Youth http://www.prx.org/pieces/18445-the-night-i-met-jonathan-kozol
Let's go on a field trip with Amanda Wells, age 17. She saw Jonathan Kozol speak at Sonoma State University in 2005. Kozol has documented and criticized "the restoration of apartheid schooling in America." Amanda asks how she — a white girl — could help end racial separation. She made this story for KRCB Voice of Youth.
4. Erika Ortiz, Paul Roldan, and Alca Usan, 'Where Were You Fifth Period?,' Curie Youth Radio http://www.prx.org/pieces/10160-where-were-you-fifth-period
Time for a quiz. Why do students cut class? Is it because: A.Their pants are wet. B. They're tired. C. They got engaged on lunch break.
Erika Ortiz, Paul Roldan, and Alca Usan get answers from students at Curie High School on the Southwest Side of Chicago. They made this story for Curie Youth Radio.
5. Sam Pearson, 'Sam Drops Out,' Youth Media Project http://www.prx.org/pieces/46483-sam-drops-out
Sam Pearson was a student at Monte Del Sol Charter School in Santa Fe, NM. He didn't want to be in high school anymore. So he dropped out. Sam made this story in 2010 when he was 17 years old, for the Youth Media Project in Santa Fe.
6. Caitlin Garing, 'Life After High School,' Alaska Teen Media Institute http://www.prx.org/pieces/4662-think-piece-on-life-after-high-school
More than a third of public high school graduates don't go to college. One anxious mother doesn't know what her son plans to do. So she hires a hard–boiled private detective to find out. Caitlin Garing was a senior in high school when she created this noir–inspired radio play for the Alaska Teen Media Institute.
7. Lena Eckert–Erdheim, 'Making It Out Of High School' Youth Noise Network http://www.prx.org/pieces/17755-making-it-out-of-high-school
Lena Eckert–Erdheim asked fellow seniors at Durham School of the Arts what they planned to do after high school. Go to college or become a hobo? Hmm, tough choice. Lena made this story for Youth Noise Network (YNN) at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. YNN is now part of SpiritHouse. (Lena went to college.)
8. Tirhas Kibrzghi, 'Students Vs. SATs' WAMU's Youth Voices http://www.prx.org/pieces/26721-students-vs-sats
Each year, the SAT test strikes fear into the hearts of about 1.5 million high school students. Colleges use SAT scores to make admissions decisions, but many high school students say the test carries too much weight. WAMU's Youth Voices reporter Tirhas Kibrzghi takes us inside a testing center near Washington, DC.
9. Claudia Villa, 'The Kids Who Got Out: My Graduation Day' KRCB Voice of Youth http://www.prx.org/pieces/11654-the-kids-who-got-out-my-graduation-dayWe spend graduation day with Claudia Villa. She went to the Clean and Sober school for kids with substance abuse issues, and graduated with teen moms, probation camp kids, and the rest of Sonoma County's Alternative Ed class of 2006. Claudia made this story when she was 18 years old for KRCB Voice of Youth.