Friday, April 27, 2007

Ohio Youth Voices' Exchange Program

Those Youth Agenga kids are still at it. One of the projects for Ohio Youth Voices is an exchange program between rural and urban schools. The Marietta Times ran a nice piece Wednesday about such an exchange earlier this week -- students from Columbus visiting a school in Washington County. I love the quotes from the kids:

  • “I felt out of place here,” said Smith. “It’s too quiet for me. And we really express ourselves with our clothing and hair. Here it’s more T-shirts and jeans. It’s more relaxed.”

  • “(They) live in a city and are exposed to so much,” said Warren senior Casey Arnold. “We’re exposed to ponds, ducks and cornfields. I can’t wait to be exposed to more and be somewhere where we’re not all the same. It’s why I’m so excited for college.”

  • “There is a lot to be proud of here,” said Prillerman. “I would love to go to school here. You can tell there is a lot of pride. There’s no graffiti; someone said earlier you could leave your purse somewhere and no one would take it..”
It's a good warm-and-fuzzy piece. What Biz calls "Positivity."

There was another exchange later this week as some Wash Co students visted Columbus. I'll post any press I find about that.

In addition to the usual disclosure that I work for Ohio Fair Schools, one of the partner organizations with Ohio Youth Voices, I drafted the press release sent to the Times. With this post I'm debuting a new topic label: "A Word from Our Sponsor," that I'll use anytime the post is about something I worked on for work.


Eric said...

Your post prompted me to do a bit of surfing. Not much to dispute with the "Ohio Youth Agenda." The Ohio Fair Schools backgrounders for use with the 2007 student essay contest are 5 years out of date, though, which suggests they don't leverage the Operating Standards for Ohio's Schools.

I liked the story on the student exchange. (Predictably) it raises concerns (for me) about the feasibility of state-wide adequacy.

Why don't the Columbus kids have textbooks and positive school climate? Will the fixes needed for Columbus actually help in Vincent, OH? My question: How do we provide appropriate compensatory services for urban kids without engendering codependency elsewhere in the state? Sure, a music program is important. The Warren High School kids have band boosters (who I guess work their tails of for the band) and that may not be an option (or as effective) for CPS.

How much of the Youth Agenda can students make happen in their own schools? Or does Ohio Youth Voices inadvertantly disempower students by teaching them to wait for government to handle their problems? When the aWarren visitors return to Columbus, what actions will they take to improve school climate (and graduation rates)?