Good Afternoon, I’m Sasha and I’m a sophomore at Kensington CAPA and I’m a member of Youth United for Change. I’m here today to speak about the school advisory council policy.

We stand here together as members of our communities demanding to have power in making the best decisions for students in our schools. Shouldn’t we have a say in what our schools teach? Shouldn’t we have a say in how our schools give consequences or how our schools spend their money?

Parents and guardians send their children to school every day so they can make it in life and so they can be ready for the world. But of course the world changes, people change, and life goes on. So shouldn’t we be able to work side by side with the people who help shape our students for the changing future?

Parents, students, and community members should work alongside of our educators, principals, and staff in order to give the best educational experience to our students.

As a community, we’re connected, we stand in solidarity which means what students are being taught or what they are going through should affect us all. Because of this our communities should have power to make decisions with our schools. We are here to present our vision for what school advisory councils should look like.

We demand that communities have power to influence curriculum design so that what is being taught meets the needs of students and is relevant to life outside of school.

We demand that communities have power over school climate policy. Community members know what it’s like to live in economically depressed neighborhoods and what students go through outside school. So we should be able to come up with alternative methods of resolving conflicts in school.

We demand that communities engage in participatory school budgeting, we’re saying members of the community should have a role in deciding what our schools do with their budgets.

Finally, we believe that not only do schools need to hold communities accountable, but communities also must be able to hold schools accountable through some kind of evaluation process.

Today you are going to vote on the school advisory council policy that ensures that each school has a council of parents, community members, teachers, and students at the high school level that help create school policy. At YUC we have been providing input since day one and we’ve been saying that schools need to listen to community voices in order to actually educate students.

The current draft of the policy makes it clear that you want to have community members involved but you are not guaranteeing that we will be a part of the decision-making process, you’re just saying that you want schools to listen.

We’re calling on you to vote, to give these councils real power.

If you really want community members to have a sense of ownership of their schools, then we should not just show up, give our input, and then have nothing in return. We need to know that the changes we want to see in our schools will not only be heard but will be fulfilled.

If we want our communities to begin to rebuild themselves, then we must stop seeing our schools as factory lines that produce workers and instead view them as a space where people can create themselves and begin to control their destiny.