Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Why Can't We Be Friends?

This afternoon Emily of NYCSU told me about a program called the Borough Students Advisory Council (BSAC). It is a DOE run program in which every single school in Manhattan is invited to send two students. The students attend monthly meetings with each other and higher powers. The idea is to unite students from across the borough and discuss issues in their schools. It sounds ideal, right? It’s a chance to bring together students and give them access to unbelievable resources, connections with the DOE, contact information for every school and a place to meet every month.

Interestingly enough, their mission is almost identical with ours at the NYC Student Union- the only completely student-run group working toward a collective voice of change in the public education system. So my question is this: why have we never heard of BSAC? And why, when every school in the borough was invited to send representatives, are there only about 12 schools represented in the program? If Chancellor Klein and Mayor Bloomberg are serious about student involvement, I think they could do a lot better than that.

Every week we meet as a student union and we are constantly frustrated by our limitations: lack of communication with the people in charge and lack of communication with more students around the city (two things that BSAC could offer). And now, as I am discovering, there is also a serious lack of communication between different education activist groups. We are working in isolation for the same cause.

We proposed a couple of things today. The first one was a day where all education activists could get together and present their organization or cause. The second one was a wiki page for educational activists- allowing everyone to search for other groups that could work with them on projects, etc. We also considered the idea of using LinkedIn to
connect all the people in this education world- allowing us to share events and ideas.

In the past week alone I have heard of two or three organizations with goals closely aligned with ours in the student union. We are trying to reach out to them- today two representatives from icope came to our meeting and it was incredibly inspiring to talk to them. We are constantly impressed by the work of other groups trying to better our schools- and yet we rarely find the opportunity to collaborate them. So contact us! students@lists.nycstudents.org. Imagine someday all of us education activists will meet together and our concerns will live as one.

Ok sorry.. that was really corny.. I had to say it.