This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
by Khoury Johnson
At the Dec. 16 School Reform Commission meeting, a group of high school students led their peers in a series of roundtable discussions to talk about what the District can do to keep students motivated and engaged in school. Notes from that meeting have been posted on the District’s website.
The notes, which were taken by District staffers, underscore student sentiment on myriad issues, including teacher-student engagement, student dropout rates, charter vs. District schools, the role of adults in education, and how to improve District operations.
Students’ responses were varied, but most centered on five general themes: respect for students; lack of funding, staff, and resources; student autonomy and representation; safety; and transparency from the District. Other topics included teaching to standardized tests and curriculum practicability.
The most commonly listed complaint, however, was the disconnect between teachers and students — in terms of cultural and personal understanding — and the effects that this disconnect can have on a student’s capacity and willingness to learn.
Khoury Johnson is an intern at the Notebook.