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Teacher Under Construction: Student Calls Out Michelle Rhee at Teacher Town Hall [VIDEO!]


There are some people who come into your life who remind you that the fight for public education is one to be won.

Hannah Nguyen is one of those people.

I “met” Hannah over the summer after she e-mailed me after she came across my blog. She shared how she went through almost the same exact experience as I did (believing in the reform movement, then realizing the threats such policies under that movement makes towards educational justice). Even more interesting, she shared how she used to be a Students for Education Reform (SFER) member…now she is my fellow National Organizer for Students United for Public Education (SUPE).

She just started her blog this year, but she is quickly making significant contributions to the movement for public education and educational justice.

She is a hero in my eyes, and I can’t even begin to express how lucky I feel to call Hannah my friend and a comrade in this struggle.

Thank you, Hannah, for your courage and drive to stand up for public education, students and teachers across the country, and the overall movement for justice in education.

Also, make sure to follow Hannah on Twitter (@hbnguyen18)!

“Hi everyone, my name is Hannah, I’m a student…just a few things though, I felt like this whole event was very much looking at these educational policy issues as a reformers versus teacher unions kind of issue, and as a student standing here and watching this battle is really disheartening, because it’s a lot deeper than that, and these are everyday realities.

And this is more than a reformers versus teachers union battle, this is a social justice issue.

And there’s a lot of things brought up–going back to poverty–reformers say that poverty isn’t destiny, and that sounds great, and I believe in that, and that’s awesome. But you know what, if you really care about students, you should say that poverty shouldn’t be.

Yes, we need to work on in-school factors, and simultaneously we need to workon out of school factors and caring about the whole child.

Back to high stakes testing. I don’t know a single student–I’m sorry, I have a lot of friends, and I have friends at other schools too–I don’t know a single student who says that they learned something from a high-stakes test, and the way that their school is structured. They should be given the freedom to learn what they want to learn, open curriculum, well-rounded, arts, music, humanities…

I used to stand by reformers, I will admit it, I did. But after seeing the facts, and the data, and everything, and my own lived experience. I cannot–I’m sorry–stand by what you preach if it has to do with high stakes accountability, this “school-choice,” which sounds great, you know, choice–who can argue against that? But, I don’t agree with the fact that charter schools, and how they push our certain students, and I’ve seen it happen.


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Stephanie Rivera

Stephanie Rivera is a student at Rutgers University. She is a future teacher and educational equity activist. ...