Campaign for School Equity (CSE) began its second year of student advocacy training at 10 high schools in Shelby County on Monday (Sept. 10).
Designed to prepare students to take a leadership role in community engagement on education issues, the training program includes hands-on instruction in advocacy, public speaking, and campaign development.
Class participants will have an opportunity to apply what they have learned by helping to shape CSE’s spring legislative platform and by collaborating to identify and implement their own school-based advocacy campaigns.
Introduced in the 2017-18 academic year, Campaign for School Equity’s student advocacy program aims to provide students with a basic foundation in conducting research, setting goals, advocacy methods, campaign development, and crafting campaign pitches. Administrators at each school select students for the program based on interest.
During its inaugural year, CSE worked with 487 students over 153 class sessions and 24 student-led campaign events. The events included school walkouts to protest gun violence, testifying at a Shelby County Schools board meeting, and a visit to Nashville to discuss education issues with state legislators and Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen.
“I drew inspiration from the strength and confidence our students exuded as a result of the program,” said Dr. Bobby White, chief executive officer of Frayser Community Schools.
“Their growth in those areas was phenomenal. I’m super excited to see this continue and impact even more of our students as we head into this new school year.”
For the 2018-19 academic year, CSE is partnering with Bluff City High School, Crosstown High School, Fairley High School, Hillcrest High School, Martin Luther King, Jr. College Preparatory High School, Soulsville High School, Southwest Early College High School, Trezevant High School and Whitehaven High School.
“We are excited about continuing our student engagement work in Memphis for a second year,” said Mendell Grinter, CSE executive director.
“Our goal is to empower students to become civically engaged in their communities and better prepared for success in pursuing post-secondary opportunities. By helping students to develop their own voices and advocate for the causes that they believe in, we hope to set them on a permanent path of community leadership and effecting long-term, positive change. ”
(Campaign for School Equity is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization “committed to the equitable utilization of high-quality educational options. For more information, visit CampaignForSchoolEquity.org.)