During lunch today, this new student came in and almost had me in tears in the first 30 seconds of speaking. "Mr. Katz, I love school, I really do. You know how in the first week of school that if we feel we are being bullied that we should report that to the school? Well, what if we feel we are being bullied by the school?" She went on to share more of what she felt: "I am no longer being taught to learn, I feel like I am just there for the tests." She shared stories of workbook errors, of testing concerns, and of her anxiety for school for the first time in her life.
I asked her what I ask all my students: is the school here to provide you with an education? Or are you here to provide the school with data? Do I have a duty to teach you? Or do you simply exist to validate my job performance? We talked about why more students don't demand an education and what has happened to schools due to education policies. We talked about how the indoctrination of "sit down and shut up" begins at the elementary school level. We talked about how asleep many students have been.
Nothing changes until the students find their voices. This student is aware. She is passionate, she is articulate, and she has awaken. It is time for the movement to grow.