Student Voices in Education

Session Presenters: Mediators: Ceresta Smith and Susan DuFresne
Student Panelists: Nikhil Goyal, Stephanie Rivera, and Zak Malamed
Session Type(s): Panel
Date: Saturday, August 4, 2012
Time: Saturday, 9:45-11:15
Room: To Be Arranged

Under the current system, students are increasingly unhappy with the corporate reformer’s demands. Months of their lives are spent either in test-prep or testing in a high-stakes system that is designed to fail every school in America. This top-down stress impacts students, while they are encouraged to go to college that is often not affordable, and to get a degree that will not necessarily lead to a career job.

Many students are labeled failures, increasingly drop out, end up in minimum-wage jobs, or become victims of the school-to-prison pipeline.

This panel will tell you how you can join us to create a movement that will stop this corporate take-over of public education and lift the burden placed on all students via student activism and partnerships with all stakeholders.

Panel Presenters

Ceresta Smith

Ceresta Smith – Florida
Ceresta Smith, an American University alumna, is a twenty-three-year veteran educator who has taught grades six through twelve reading and language arts, as well as beginning and advanced television production. She earned her National Board Certification in Adult/Young Adult English/language arts in 2002, and now serves as a teacher leader and mentor.As a committed educator, activist and education blogger, Ms. Smith founded the Concerned Teacher Coalition in 2009 to address the inequities in Miami-Dade County’s predominantly African-American public schools. One of the original Event Planning Committee members of Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action, she continues to champion for equity and quality pedagogy in America’s public schools. Currently, she is one of the founders and administrators of United Opt Out National, an organization that is working to end the destructive nature of high stakes testing – a tool used by corporate profiteers to facilitate the privatization of public education. Ceresta is also regular blogger, her education articles can be found on Daily Kos and in other periodicals..
Susan DuFresne

Susan DuFresne – Washington State Save Our Schools Information CoordinatorSusan DuFresne, As a special education Kindergarten teacher & activist, Susan DuFresne works daily for civil rights. She believes a high quality, free, & equal education for ALL education that is designed by the REAL stakeholders of public education — without corporate influence. Susan DuFresne believes in strong unions for the future of all workers. She is a member of Social Equality Educators, acts as a Washington State SOS Co-Information Coordinator, and is the creator/moderator of #SOSchat on Twitter.
On Twitter…@GetUpStandUp2

Student Panel Presenters

Nikhil Goyal

Nikhil Goyal – Lobbyist for the Students!At age 17, Nikhil Goyal is the author of All Hands on Deck: Why America Needs a Learning Revolution to be published September 6, 2012 by Alternative Education Resource Organization. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, NBC, Huffington Post, and Edutopia. Nikhil has spoken to thousands at conferences and TEDx events around the world from Qatar to Spain.
On Twitter…@TalkPolitical

Zak Malamed

Zak Malamed– A Education Reform Leader!Zak Malamed is an 18 year old advocate for the student voice in education policy. He considers himself to be both a political and social activist who is passion driven. Recently, he founded the #stuvoice Twitter chat to promote the students’ perspective in education. Zak was president of his high school’s Student Government in and has held many other leadership roles as both a student advocate and a student leader. He looks forward to pursuing a career in public service and hopes to see that track begin as we collaborate to re-imagine the way we learn.
On Twitter…@zakmal

Stephanie Rivera

Stephanie Rivera – A Future Classroom Teacher, Current Cyberspace TeacherStephanie Rivera is a 20 year old student studying English and Education at Rutgers University. She is a high school mentor, teacher assistant, future teacher, and runs her own blog at Teacher Under Construction. Her work includes elevating student voices, working towards recreating a nation where the term “at-risk” is no longer a term associated with the term “school,” and ultimately empowering future world changers.
On Twitter…@stephrrivera