In an Oct. 15 panel discussion titled “Education as the Civil Rights Issue of Our Time,” New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein, Newark School Advisory Board president Shavar Jeffries, and Coney Island Prep dean of students Leslie-Bernard Joseph ’06 discussed educational reform in the United States and the role of undergraduates in the reform movement.
“Students around the world vote with their feet to study at our colleges, but we are not preparing our own students to attend these institutions,” said President Tilghman, the panel's moderator. “This is the challenge we are here to discuss.”
Joseph, who holds a B.A. in politics from Princeton, kicked off the panel with an anecdote about his sixth-grade student who, unable to answer any questions on a quiz, had simply written “I need help” instead of the answers on the quiz. Joseph keeps the note in his office to remind himself of his mission as a teacher.
“What I realized from the moment I walked into the classroom is that schools look nothing like what they were supposed to,” he said. He explained that this isn’t because of crumbling paint or old books, but rather a missing sense of possibility and hope.