SLP Youth Board: Action Toolkit
The Service Learning Project (SLP) Youth Board, made up of high school students attending schools located throughout NYC, advocates for increased student voice in local policy making, as well as an increase in school-based action civics and overall youth civic engagement.
The SLP Youth Board believes that all NYC students in grades K-12 should have access to hands-on education through which they can become leaders and advocates for positive change in their schools and neighborhoods. There are two parts to our mission 1) culturally responsive education and 2) exposure to civics education.
Why is this important?
Access to culturally responsive education allows students to see themselves represented as leaders of their history and promotes involvement and leadership within the classroom. Access to civics education emphasizes the importance of political engagement within our society through student-led exploration. With the combination of both pieces at play, students will not only see themselves as leaders, but will have the skills and confidence to put their ideas to work and make change on the social issues they care about.
Actions speak louder than words. We not only advocate for much-needed change, we also take concrete action ourselves. Starting from emailing representatives, to organizing protests, the SLP Youth Board is ready to be the bridge to any kind of possible change. Want to get involved?
- Get out there and vote or if unable to, motivate someone else of age to do it.
- Repost movement card links that are there to help and usually contain many different effective outlets.
- Do what’s right and encourage others to do so.
- Share your stories with us because we believe they matter.
– Action Civics equips students with research skills to become experts on issues they care about
– Action Civics equips students with the tools they need in order to execute their ideas and learn about the process of making one’s voice heard via legislation.
– Action Civics allows students to be engaged both in the classroom and their communities, ultimately, viewing themselves as leaders.
About Action Civics
The SLP Youth Board is advocating for an action civics project graduation requirement for all NYC students in place of a test. Action Civics Projects Requirements will encourage ALL students to engage in their communities and build the skills they need to make change. As more and more students participate in change-based action civics projects, younger students will see examples of leaders in their own school communities and peers – taking us one step closer to culturally responsive education in NYC. This will create generations of diverse, engaged citizens and change-makers.
The goal of the course is to equip students with the skills they need in order to become leaders within their communities, and the final project would allow students to demonstrate their skills rather than be tested on them.
Through an action civics project, students thoroughly investigate a problem in their school, neighborhood, or community and take steps towards solving it. It would follow a similar model to the Service Learning Project (SLP), where students select an issue they care about, become experts on it, design an action plan, and execute it. The process can and should include a guest speaker from a local community nonprofit who can share their experiences with advocating for change and show the students how to get involved with their organization if they are interested.
The process should not end here. The program will make sure that students have a thorough understanding of methods of change, so that they feel as if they have the tools they need to take their project further and even make their proposed solutions into laws. We can help by creating a network of student-led organizations around the city that we can connect students with, allowing them to join groups of students who are concerned with the same issues.
With culturally responsive education giving students the desire and confidence they need to be a leader, action civics teaches them the skills they need to create change.
– The SLP Youth Board believes that every student should be pre-registered to vote at the age of 16 with the option to opt-out.
– This plan would work best if accompanied by a comprehensive action civics program.
– Every young person should know their rights and be motivated to exercise them.
About Voter Registration
The SLP Youth Board is advocating for voter registration for every eligible New York City high school student. Our goal is to get every young person to not only know their rights, but to also be motivated to exercise them. While there have been plans put in place to address this issue, like DemocracyNYC’s 10 Point Plan, as it works today it relies on students and faculty of a school to host their own drive. This plan, though a step in the right direction, is not enough.
New York State’s Assembly and Senate have both passed a bill that, if signed by Cuomo, would automatically register a person to vote when they interact with certain state and local agencies. This bill would make registering to vote more accessible to the many unregistered adults in New York, but does not make it any easier for teenagers. SLP believes that public schools should be a part of this plan as well, automatically pre-registering every student to vote once they reach the age of sixteen with the option to opt-out. Schools would register their students to vote ideally in January of their junior year when every student would be sixteen or older at that time.
This plan would not work alone, it would be accompanied by the comprehensive civics action courses that would emphasize the value of that student’s individual voice. We don’t believe that it is enough to spend just one week on civic participation; the value of civic participation should continue to be stressed throughout a student’s whole education in order for them to see their voices and votes as valued.
– The SLP Youth Board is advocating for a culturally responsive and sensitive curriculum to be taught to all New York City students by teachers that represent New York City’s diversity.
– If students from marginalized groups can’t see themselves well reflected in their studies, it follows that it is more difficult for them to use their voices, engage confidently in their communities or push for positive changes in the world.
Culturally Responsive Education
The SLP Youth Board is advocating for a culturally responsive curriculum to be taught to all New York City students, by teachers that represent the diversity of NYC, in a culturally sensitive manner. Culturally Responsive Curriculum (CRC) can inspire all students to succeed and be leaders in their communities.
The current white-washed curriculum is flawed, and does not allow all students to see themselves in their education. With a focus primarily on Eurocentric history, students of color and those from traditionally oppressed groups are prohibited from learning accurate stories of their religions and cultures. Students of color and those living in poverty have limited access to civic learning. If students from marginalized groups can’t see themselves well reflected in their studies, it follows that it is more difficult for them to use their voices, engage confidently in their communities or push for positive changes in the world.
The New York State Education Department’s Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Framework should be used as a guide by the city. This curriculum incorporates various viewpoints of diversity, and recognizes how this benefits learning and teaching. New York City needs to follow the state.
When students are able to see themselves in their education, it instills a sense of self-worth and confidence, making students more likely to be active and informed citizens. This should be what students of all backgrounds and groups should expect from NYC schools.