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Equity in Education During COVID 19

Posted By Amy Meuers, Monday, March 23, 2020

Imagine all students starting their school days by eating a healthy breakfast, then jumping on their laptops to connect with their teachers through Google Classroom, then Facetiming with fellow students to complete their group projects. Imagine all parents knowing that their children are receiving the best educations despite classrooms having been moved from school buildings to living rooms. Imagine every teacher equipped with the training and knowledge to ensure that every student has the opportunity to succeed.

 

Unfortunately, this is not the reality for many students across the United States. Issues of equity become readily apparent when students go hungry because they no longer have school breakfast or lunch.  Students may have been assigned a computer from school but the coffee shop or library where they used to connect to the internet to do their homework is no longer open. Or they are isolated in a rural area with limited broadband. The COVID-19 crisis has made the issue of education equity even more apparent.

 

Young people are the largest stakeholders in the achievement gap. And because they have the most at stake, they also are positioned to make the most profound change. Once exposed to the roots of the issue, they tend to want to learn more about educational equity, to identify solutions, and to serve as change agents in their schools and communities. Analyzing the factors that contribute to the achievement gap enables students to begin to understand how they can affect it.

 

So, what can students do today to help address issues facing themselves and their fellow students?

  • Investigate - What is happening in the community? Survey fellow students to learn about the challenges they are facing; research the community to see what resources are offered; then decide which issue to address.
  • Plan and Prepare – Make a plan for how to tackle the issue. Will it require a budget? A timeline? What resources (volunteers, community experts, technology, etc.) will it take to address the issue?
  • Action – Put the plan into action.
  • Reflect – Reflect on what worked, what didn’t and then…
  • Demonstrate – Share with others. Use hashtag #youth4ed on Twitter, tag @nylcorg on Facebook and Instagram, share the story with the local press and with NYLC.

Youth innovation on issues affecting equity will lead to lasting change. By addressing just one factor of the achievement gap, young people and adults can influence the overall outcome of a student’s academic achievement and may be able to affect other factors that are critical to the overall learning experience. The story “Oxford Student Sets Up Volunteer Tutoring Service" is a great example of how students can create solutions to inequity. Student Jacob Kelly set up an initiative to connect college students with school students in need of tutoring services. He has more than 300 volunteers making an impact on the lives of students. Another example comes from StuVoice, a youth-led organization addressing education equity, which has created a petition to colleges and universities to create more equitable admissions process due to the cancellation of ACT and SAT tests. COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates pre-existing inequities in college access, it is critical that urgent action is taken to ensure low-income, minority and other underrepresented student groups have equitable access to the admissions process. 

 

To learn more about education equity and how to take action, visit Youth4Ed. A program of NYLC, Youth4Ed works with Lead Activists from high schools across the nation to pioneer service-learning projects that support educational equity, especially in these virtual education times. Visit www.nylc.org to learn more and become part of the solution today.

 

Tags:  education equity  servicelearning  youth leadership  youthvoice 

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Join the Youth Advisory Council

Posted By NYLC, Friday, March 29, 2019

(This article was originally posted on December 27, 2019 on nylc.org.)

For 35 years, the National Youth Leadership Council has tapped into the passion, creativity, and ingenuity of all young people to make meaningful change happen. Our Youth Advisory Council is a team of servant-leaders dedicated to promoting youth leadership, service-learning, and education equity. By providing valuable perspectives to inform NYLC programming, including Teen Driver Safety, Education Equity, and Youth Leadership, YAC members contribute to the success of NYLC in reaching our mission to create a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world with young people, their schools, and their communities through service-learning.

YAC work alongside NYLC staff at the National Service-Learning Conference® and present various youth leadership workshops and trainings across the country. As a Youth Advisory Council member, YAC have an opportunity to use their talents and strengths to help NYLC develop young leaders. Together, we are leading the way to address real world issues with all young people, inspiring them to Serve. Learn. Change the world.®

Join the next generation of youth leaders by submitting your application by January 26, 2019!

Learn more and apply today!

Tags:  education equity  teen driver safety  Youth Advisory Council  youth leadership  youth leadership development  youth voice 

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