Students work for education reform

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March 11, 2013

10:55 PM

Determined to raise awareness about lobbying for change in education policy, Devon Oberle ’15 started her fourth semester at the College of William and Mary rounding up students who shared an interest in this cause. Her goal was to begin a chapter of Students for Education Reform on campus. Unbeknownst to her, Avery Newton ’13 and David Lee ’15 were simultaneously applying to found a chapter of SFER at the College. When a friend informed Oberle that Lee and Newton were trying to form the same group as she was, the two groups of passionate students collaborated to create the College’s first SFER chapter.

“Luckily, we came together and it worked out really well,” Oberle said. “It worked out because they had done the application and we had done more of the getting people involved part.”

SFER is an organization with branches at 103 colleges across the country. It aims to change education policy, raise education awareness on campus and provide a centralized place to discuss internships, jobs or trips involving education and education reform.

Oberle’s, Newton’s and Lee’s desire to shape education policies is not a new desire. Newton will attend Boston College for graduate school next fall and is planning to earn a Ph.D.  in educational research, measurement and evaluation. She will research educational and psychological assessments. Ultimately, Newton hopes to design standardized tests.

“I’d love to shape them in a way that help better and more accurately assess student learning,” Newton said.

One of SFER’s primary goals is to inform students that they can influence education policy and legislation. College students have the ability to make a difference, especially through voting in local and national elections.

“We’re literally on the ground,” Newton said. “We’re students. We’re living it.”

The three founders of SFER believe students offer the best judgment of what decisions and changes should be made to the education system. Because most college students complete their elementary and high school educations immediately before entering college, they can remember what did and did not work for them as students.

“College students are just coming out of the education system, so we have the best idea of what’s going on [and] what the problems are,” Oberle said.

When speaking to students about education reform, Newton said all students produced at least some interest in discussing the educational system. The group also plans to open the SFER chapter events to the students who attend the College’s School of Education. Three-hundred thirty-five students were admitted to the School of Education for the 2012-2013 academic year alone.  The group believes these students would be receptive to educational reform discussions and lobbying for the future of the school system.

“I think education is, in many ways, becoming the civil rights issue of the 21st century,” Newton said. “Everyone’s lived it, so we can all have something to relate to.”

The newly formed College branch of the SFER recently finalized their executive board members and scheduled their first meeting for March 24.

The group hopes to bring in speakers, hold discussions and host movie screenings to further inform people about their cause for education reform.

“Having this knowledge, having this background…only then can [we] actually start bringing about proper reform,” Lee said.

Determined to raise awareness about lobbying for change in education policy, Devon Oberle ’15 started her fourth semester at the College of William and Mary rounding up students who shared an interest in her cause. Ultimately, Oberle wished to begin a chapter of Students for Education Reform on campus. Unbeknownst to her, Avery Newton ’13 and David Lee ’15 were simultaneously applying to found a chapter of SFER at the College as well. When a friend informed Oberle that Lee and Newton were trying to form the same group  on campus as she was, the two groupsthree students of passionate students collaborated andto created the College’s first SFER chapter.

Luckily, we came together and it worked out really well,” Oberle said. “It worked out because they had done the application and we had done more of the getting people involved part.”

SFER is an organization with branches at 103 colleges across the country. It aims to change education policy, raise education awareness on campus and provide a centralized place to discuss internships, jobs or trips involving education and education reform.

Oberle, Newton and Lee’s  desire to shape education policies is not a new desire. Newton will attend Boston College for graduate school next fall and is planning to earn a Ph.D. in educational research, measurement and evaluation. Ultimately, Newton hopes to design standardized tests.

“I’d love to shape them in a way that help better and more accurately assess student learning,” Newton said.

One of SFER’s primary goals is to inform students that they can influence education policy and legislation. College students have the ability to make a difference, especially because through voting in local and national elections.

“We’re literally on the ground,” Newton said. “We’re students. We’re living it.”

The three founders of SFER believe students offer the best judgment of what decisions and changes should be made to the education system. Because most college students complete their elementary and high school educations immediately before entering college, they can remember what did and did not work for them as students.

“College students are just coming out of the education system, so we have the best idea of what’s going on [and] what the problems are,” Oberle said.

When speaking to students about education reform, Newton said all students produced at least some interest in discussing the educational system. The group also plans to open the SFER chapter events to the students who attend the College’s School of Education. 335 students were admitted to the School of Education for the 2012-2013 academic year alone.  The groups believes these students would be receptive to educational reform discussions and lobbying for the future of the school system.

“I think education is, in many ways, becoming the civil rights issue of the 21st century,” Newton said. “Everyone’s lived it, so we can all have something to relate to.”

The newly formed College branch of the SFER recently finalized their executive board members and scheduled their first meeting for Mar. 24.

The group hopes to bring in speakers, hold discussions and host movie screenings to further inform people about their cause for education reform.

“Having this knowledge, having this background…only then can [we] actually start bringing about proper reform,” Lee said.

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  • Eleanor Lamb

Senior Staff Writer Eleanor Lamb '16 is an English Major. She previously served as Associate News Editor.

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