Who says students can't convince district school boards to act? One story out of Stockton Unified School District in California, whose district population is 59% Latino, shows that students can take action when they disagree with proposals that their school boards are considering.
STOCKTON – As the Stockton Unified school board's facilities subcommittee meeting began Thursday evening, Superintendent Carl Toliver was expected to roll out a series of cost-saving proposals, among them a plan to move the district's teacher-training facility out of rental property and into the Weber Institute of Technology.
Ordinarily, subcommittee meetings are sparsely attended, but Thursday, the crowd swelled to more than 100. The audience was comprised almost entirely of past and present Weber students, as well as teachers and parents. They had turned out to plead with the district to leave Weber alone.
Observing the crowd in the boardroom, Toliver quickly told committee members David Varela, Sal Ramirez and Steve Smith to scratch the Weber proposal off their list. But the Weber supporters nonetheless seized the opportunity to speak passionately about their school.
"Going to Weber, it changed my whole life," senior Antonio Garcia said. "Seeing this unification of students signifies how important this school is to all of us."
Some of the students had gotten the idea the district was considering moving or closing Weber, though Toliver has never said any such thing. But Weber teachers say there is insufficient room at the downtown facility to simultaneously conduct classes and trainings.
Toliver told the Weber gathering, "We heard you very loud and clearly."
We applaud these students for utilizing social media tools to spread their message and to achieve their "victory." Sometimes all the textbooks and classes in the word won't do, and a real-life civics moment can add more educational value to young minds.