I came across this brochure in a public library during my trip to London last week.
I really like the empowering message it communicates to children:
1. You have the right to be heard.
2. You have the right to express yourself.
3. You are important and adults need to remember this.
It got me to thinking, what would a K-12 public school student’s Bill of Rights look like?
I did a bit of research and found very little in this area. What is there generally centers around students’ Constitutional rights to free speech:
I found a different perspective brought forward from the Education Research Group
Here is another interesting perspective from Engines for Education:
The Student Bill of Rights
1. Testing : No student should have to take a multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank test.
2. Real-Life Skills: No student should be have to learn something that fails to relate to a skill that is likely to be required in life after school.
3. Memorization: No student should be required to memorize any information that is likely to be forgotten in six months.
4. Clarity of Goals: No student should be required to take a course, the results of which are not directly related to a goal held by the student, nor to engage in an activity without knowing what he can expect to gain from that activity.
5. Passivity: No student should be required to spend time passively watching or listening to anything unless there is a longer period of time devoted to allowing the student to participate in a corresponding active activity.
6. Arbitrary Standards: No student should be required to prepare his work in ways that are arbitrary or to jump through arbitrary hoops defined only by a particular teacher and not by the society at large.
7. Mastery: No student should be required to continue to study something he has already mastered.
8. Discovery: No student should be asked to learn anything unless there is the possibility of his being able to experiment in school with what he has learned.
9. Defined Curriculum: No student should be barred from engaging in activities that interest him within the framework of school because of breadth requirements imposed by the curriculum.
10. Freedom Of Thought: No student should be placed in a position of having to air his views on a subject if the opposing point of view is not presented and equally represented.
Does every student have the right to a teacher that is certified in his/her subject area?
Does every student have the right to a basic learning environment such as a desk and chair?
Does this extend to a computer and access to the Internet?
What about student safety in school, as well as traveling to and from school?
We have a Patients’ Bill of Rights, a Consumers’ Bill of Rights, and an Airline Travelers’ Bill of Rights; but who speaks for our students? For those of us that advocate K-12 public school transformation, isn’t a Bill of Rights an important step?
So, what would you include in a Student’s Bill of Rights?
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