Every year, seniors at Chávez schools present and defend their theses, which focus on current public policy issues, during the César Chávez Public Charter Schools Public Policy Symposium. Students include a background of the issue, analysis of the policy, and their recommendations on how to improve/change the policy in their thesis presentations. This year’s topics ranged from the militarization of the police to the conflicts in Israel/Palestine. The three seniors who presented their theses rivaled that of a college student well into their studies. Each presentation was a thoughtful piece that brought me into their minds and helped me understand the basis of their thesis.
Before the student presentations, keynote speaker Jamal Simmons, who plays an active role in politics and helped both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama win elections, spoke about his idea of “Generation One”. Generation One includes the millennials who he described as having a greater scope of things that they can become in life compared to earlier generations. He recounted a popular saying from when he was younger about minority parents telling their kids that they can be anything they want in life, and parents knowing they were not telling the truth. Children then suffered from the generational suppression that lasted decades before them. This is unlike today, when there are people who look just like them who are owners of television networks or even President of the United States. Today, Generation One believes they can indeed be anything they want in life.
This led us into the student presentations, and it was clear that these students are a part of Generation One (in fact, they might be the next leaders of Generation One!). The first presenter spoke about student loan debt, and provided his very own