'If you want to help us, just ask': L.A. youth present plans for improving urban schooling

Thirty-one local high school students with the Council of Youth Research — a project of UCLA's Institute for Democracy, Education and Access (IDEA) — will hold a community hearing at UCLA's Downtown Labor Center to present their recommendations on how to improve urban public education. Their findings are based on eight months of research investigating educational conditions at their high schools.
The students, from Crenshaw, Locke, Manual Arts, Roosevelt and Wilson high schools in Los Angeles, used graduate-level social science techniques and theories to collect and analyze data. They distributed more than 1,250 surveys, conducted interviews with school leaders and peers, used statistical databases, and led workshops with teachers to discuss the importance of a "powerful curriculum."
The work expands on student research begun last summer that looked at the distribution of education resources in aftermath of the Williams v. California case, a class-action lawsuit filed in 2000 and settled in 2004 that aimed to address educational inequities in the state.
Students will present their findings using PowerPoint productions and video documentaries. Community members will also be invited to the hearing to share stories about the educational impact of the economic crisis.
Participants at the presentation will include:
Student researchers
31 students from Crenshaw, Locke, Manual Arts, Roosevelt and Wilson high schools
Ernest Morrell
Associate director of UCLA IDEA and an associate professor of urban schooling at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
John Rogers
Director of UCLA IDEA and an associate professor at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
5:30–7:30 p.m., Friday, March 4
UCLA Downtown Labor Center
675 S. Park View St., Los Angeles, Calif. (map)
The Council of Youth Research provides a valuable vehicle for students to get involved in issues that are critically important to them and to share their findings with school officials, local politicians and policymakers. Often, decisions about school reform are made without the consultation of those who will feel the impact most directly — students. The council gives a voice to students and empowers them to be leaders of change in their communities.
The council's reach has been expanding over the years. Students will next travel to New Orleans in April 2011 to present in front of a national audience at the annual American Educational Research Association conference.
Claudia Bustamante, UCLA IDEA, 310-267-4408

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Claudia Bustamante,
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