Adapted from The Teen Guide to Global Action: How to Connect with Others (Near & Far) to Create Social Change by Barbara A. Lewis.
Questions and concerns surround the future of the public education system, and now more than ever is the time for action. You can help teens find their voices on the issues closest to them by encouraging your students to take action in one—or more—of these seven ways.
1. Present their views on education.
Let your students share their ideas about education in your area. Organize a group of students to present at an open meeting of the school board or a local government committee debating education issues. Work to get on the meeting’s agenda and have the teens present their perspectives on student issues.
2. Campaign for or against specific education policies.
Help teens learn about pending educational initiatives in your area’s districts and have them contact local officials to comment on those initiatives. Encourage your students to set up a website to explore the pros and cons of a policy or to petition others online or in their neighborhoods. Check out ipetitions.com for information and tips.
3. Teach English to people in your community.
Immigrants come from all over the world and speak many different languages. Most consider their new homes to be their permanent homes. Learning to speak and read English is an important step in joining their new communities. Connect with a local ESL (English as a second language) program and encourage your students to volunteer as tutors.
4. Save libraries.
Libraries are a valuable educational resource, but they often face budget cuts and other challenges. To make sure their doors stay open, assist your students with signing and passing petitions, raising funds, and gaining community support.
5. Support funding for education.
Funding education is an important investment in a community and its members. Help your students stay current on local efforts to ensure that their education isn’t being compromised by a lack of funding. Have teens voice their views in a letter to the editor of a local newspaper, highlighting the specific funding they’d like to see schools receive.
6. Join education associations.
Encourage students to look into becoming members of regional or national organizations that support education. Many groups send email alerts and action suggestions when critical initiatives are being considered. Keeping teens up-to-date on such initiatives allows teens to take part in the decision-making process and affect outcomes in your area.
7. Tutor others at your school.
Show your students how to assess their personal strengths and interests, and encourage them to volunteer to help others with reading, writing, math, or another subject they have skills in. They could also work with younger children or peers with learning differences. Look into programs your school already has in place, or help your students start one.
For more ideas on ways teens can take local—and global—action on issues, check out The Teen Guide to Global Action: How to Connect with Others (Near & Far) to Create Social Change by Barbara A. Lewis.
We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.