Look who’s reacting to the StudentsFirst agenda

January 18, 2011 posted by StudentsFirst

What do five big city Mayors and comedian Bill Cosby have in common? They all say enough is enough, it’s time for a movement like StudentsFirst. Well, that’s us summarizing, but you can check out what they’ve said in their own words. And see who else is standing up to put students first.

Last week’s roll out of the StudentsFirst national policy agenda sparked new conversations among key policymakers and reform advocates. Governors such as Chris Christie from New Jersey and Rick Scott from Florida made public statements of support for StudentsFirst. Former Colorado Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien gives us a thumbs up. She knows what she is talking about. Last year, she helped her state pass a landmark law that puts the interest of students above the special interests.

City leaders like Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty know firsthand the type of tough decision-making needed to push strong polices that create change needed to impact student achievement. They, along with three other big city mayors, agree that the StudentsFirst policy agenda offers states and districts powerful and effective strategies that put student needs ahead of adult interests and bureaucratic buffers.

Then there are the trail-blazing school district leaders, like Joel Klein of New York City and Howard Fuller from Milwaukee. They’ve already worked to implement change that emphasizes StudentsFirst principles: valuing effective teaching, providing quality school choices for families, and overhauling how you govern and budget quality schools for the 21st century.

Finally, there are some diverse voices cutting through all the talk to take a stand. Bill Cosby is a strong supporter of parental involvement and empowerment, which is at the heart of much of this agenda. Blair Taylor of the Los Angeles Urban League and Gloria Romero, a longtime activist, describe how people are waking up to the need to overturn entrenched priorities in their communities.

The notion of improving the nation’s schools didn’t originate with StudentsFirst. But, through its policy agenda, the Movement does provide a comprehensive reform approach that can help capture the tide-turning opportunity reflected in many of these leaders’ statements. Together, we can ignite education reform across the country, rather than insert insular policies here and there. Leading advocates are feeling bold. Here’s what they’ve said.