Under the Knife: Students for Education Reform

Students for Education Reform is a nonprofit national organization that aims to increase student awareness of educational disparities and the achievement gap between students of different socioeconomic classes, and inspire them to combat these injustices. Juniors Brittany Wolf and Julia Addeo are responsible for bringing this organization to Geneseo.

Students for Education Reform became an official organization on campus this fall after Wolf and Addeo contacted the national board, held interviews and went through the semester-long process of enacting a student-run organization. Wolf and Addeo's initial goal is to mobilize undergraduates by raising awareness of the achievement gap between low- and high-income areas.

"This is important because undergraduates are the youngest demographic who are capable of making a difference," Addeo said. "We want to recruit people to join, educate them on our nation's policies and then implement change."

In the spring, Wolf and Addeo hope to organize a trip to Albany to advocate for their cause.  

"You can't ignore 700-plus college students promoting change. There are so many issues that tie into this that we plan to tackle," Addeo said.

The students will raise controversial topics such as tenure, federal spending and academic opportunities.

"Education is the epicenter of how our country runs. It is what's going to happen to our economy in the future generations," Addeo said. "Who will be president in 50 years if we don't educate our youth? It is essential."

Among the group's potential points for advocacy is teacher evaluation. Wolf explained, "You can't measure a teacher based on test scores alone." The group plans to advocate a system to measure a teacher's progress over the year by videotaping the teachers during the school day and having other evaluators sit in during class sessions.     "Education in our country is going to affect us, one way or another, whether it is with our own kids or the kids who will one day run our nation," Wolf said. "Now we have the power to fix it, so we might as well do it."

"These students need leaders to say, ‘You will be successful,' and ‘You will have these opportunities,'" Addeo said of students who often feel disillusioned by the cycle of limited opportunity in the education system.

For more information contact Addeo at jsa4@geneseo.edu.