In all the hype and spin about the privatization of education in New Orleans, no one has heard from students. Various special-interest claim to speak for them, say “it’s all about the kids.” Some raise millions of dollars from corporations and ideologues by claiming to be student advocates. It turns out that students have their own views and need no surrogates.

Silent no more. High school students are speaking out. They are holding a rally on October 30 at 5:30 pm to insist that they be heard. See the details below.
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New Orleans students host first ever youth-led election forum for Orleans Parish School Board

Using their voices rather than a Super PAC, impacted students attempt to re-shape direction of a school system that has become a prime target of out-of-state political contributions and influence.

What: The Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association, in partnership with Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools and Orleans Public Education Network, will be mobilizing students and families from all across the city to engage candidates on issues that passionately concern them. A candidate forum of this scale, placing student voices at the center of the discussion, has not taken place in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. From food access, discipline policies, and transportation services, to charter governance, school closures, and resource inequality, student leaders will share testimony and ask the candidates to lay our their plans for improving academic achievement, democratic participation, and resource equity.

When: October 30th at 5:30 pm

Where: Ashe Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Bldv., New Orleans, LA 70113

Who: The Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association, Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools, Orleans Public Education Network, Fyre Youth Squad, Young Adults Striving for Success, Puentes New Orleans, and students from McMain Secondary, Warren Easton, Benjamin Franklin, and Sarah T. Reed

Why: In recent state school board elections, billionaires Michael Bloomberg, Eli Broad, and Alice and Jim Walton gave $500,000 in political contributions to cement New Orleans’ status as the nation’s preeminent education reform test-tube. Yet, New Orleans students inside this national experiment have not been given meaningful opportunities to provide feedback on these reforms or vocalize their own visions for educational equity. Despite being the stakeholder group with the greatest first-hand experience of present schooling conditions and the most at stake in school board elections, student voices have been consistently drowned out by a well-financed, national education reform agenda.

Media Visuals: Students speaking at a lectern to present issues and questions; students moderating the event; students submitting comment cards; a room with 100-150 community members and youth from all over the city representing over a dozen organizations and schools.
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Here are the articles generated by the activist youth groups of New Orleans:

Press on our youth organizing work and campaigns:

EdWeek: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/11/02/10tran.h31.html? (tkn=PNPF+K6Ugps%2F6AuN60lliB8PhatGJThqZFXs&cmp=ENL-EU-VIEWS (Student opinion piece based on survey of conditions in six schools)

The Lens: http://thelensnola.org/2011/09/07/vayla-surveys-high-schools/

Colorlines: http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/11/new_orleans_students_who_raised_concerns_about_city_schools_win_accountability.html

Times Picayune: http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2011/09/vietnamese-american_group_rate.html

Good Magazine: http://www.good.is/post/students-say-new-orleans-schools-are-no-education-miracle/

Louisiana Weekly: http://www.louisianaweekly.com/reed-students-present-turnaround-plan/

Louisiana Weekly: http://www.louisianaweekly.com/removing-the-mask-of-chartered-schools/
/www.louisianaweekly.com/n-o-east-residents-picket-outside-ben-franklin-high-school/

Times Picayune: http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2012/05/eastern_new_orleans_residents.html

The Lens: thelensnola.org/charters/eastern-new-orleans-students-want-more-reliable-faster-bus-service/

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