Introducing the Youth Organizers!

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Alanni, Giancarlo, Maidalys

Boston Education Justice Alliance is hosting three youth organizers over the summer to collect stories from students, do canvassing, and learn about education justice. Read a short bio by each of the organizers after the jump! All summer they will be posting original interviews, articles, and opinion pieces.

My name is Alanni Powell. I am 16 years old and I am a junior at Boston Collegiate Charter School. I work at Boston Education Justice Alliance as a Youth Organizer. The main goal of Boston Education Justice Alliance is to bring justice to the education system by fighting for equitable funding, less testing more learning, and by building community voices to be represented in the education system. Equitable funding means equal and affordable funding for all schools. Building community voices in the education system is important because students and families are most affected by the failing education system so their voices should influence what is taught in schools. In my first two weeks working at BEJA, I have learned about problems with our education system involving funding and the ineffectiveness of standardized testing. Funding is an issue because currently Charter Schools receive almost half of Boston Public School State funding even though there are a lot more students who need funding in Boston Public Schools. Standardized testing needs to be changed because schools waste time and money preparing students to take tests instead of teaching them other valuable content. I have also learned about canvassing techniques such as different ways to engage people in conversations and the harsh discipline policies in Charter Schools. As a Youth Organizer, this summer I will be working on the Share Your Story Project where all the Youth Organizers will gather stories from children who go to Charter Schools and share them in a blog. My work on the Share Your Story Project will further support BEJA's work by providing personalized experiences rather for others to relate to rather than statistics.

My name is Giancarlo Castaneda, and I am working with BEJA this summer as a youth organizer. I am 15 years old and I am a Sophomore at Margarita Muniz Academy. In my first two weeks working here at Jobs With Justice I have learned how to screen print and I have learned some canvassing tactics. Canvassing is going out to an area in a community such as a train station and talking to them and informing them about what you are doing, and if you are forming a petition, having them sign off on it. I have learned how to screen print because if there is a community event, I have a cost efficient way to get my message out. I have also been learning about the funding of public and charter schools, and how these funds are distributed. I have learned that these funds are not distributed fairly, and the public schools need their fair share of funding. This is directly connected to BEJA's work on equitable funding, also known as fair funding so public schools can have the resources that they need to educate their students. The Share Your Story project that we are currently working on is when me and my fellow youth organizers find students of charter schools and ask them about their experiences in their schools, around their discipline, and people being pushed out or leaving the schools. This aids BEJA's work directly by providing real voices behind the statistics.

My name is Maidalys Mejia, I'm 14 years old, and I'm a sophomore at Margarita Muniz Academy. I work at Boston Education Justice Alliance as a Youth Organizer. From this job i want to learn new things, like how hard can school be for other students. A personal goal I have is to speak up and not be shy. In this first 2 weeks I have learned many things, for example, about over-testing, like a lot of time is spent on learning how to take the test rather than learn about what's inside. I also learn about how some Charter Schools treat students that have problem learning. I learned lot more about education justice. The Share Your Story project supports the work BEJA is doing because the stories we collect are evidence of education in justice. And the need for improved funding.