I asked Courtney, a high school student and founder of Students Transforming Education (STE), what caused him to become active and work toward reforming tenure in California. I figured I would soon hear a story about a horrible teacher, the kind you hear about on the news – that “bad apple” who does not care about his or her students, is lazy, and doesn’t help students achieve academic heights.
I was surprised to hear the exact opposite. Courtney explained that his life had been changed for the better thanks to outstanding teachers.
“I have been extremely lucky to have amazing teachers and I have seen firsthand the impact a great teacher can have,” he said. Courtney had been pushed and inspired to take part in extracurricular activities like Youth & Government.
He recognized how is own life was changed the necessity for every student in the nation to have access to outstanding teachers.
The summer before his junior year, Courtney got to work on his very own organization, STE, to “transform” the system that keeps poorly performing teachers in place. “After researching about the situation in California and talking with teachers, administrators, school board members and education reform advocates, I decided it was time some gets students involved.” He created an online presence using his knowledge in website design, and made it easy for students like him to inform themselves about the issues and get involved.
For Courtney, that is what was important: students getting involved, and students using their voices to fight for a change in the system that would directly affect their lives and academic experiences. High school students get a bad rap, in his view, for not being involved and not caring about the issues.
“Students are not given the same