Schooled: Teens' Stories About American Public Education

October 29, 2010

Adults in the White House, Congress, think tanks,
and schools are fighting over how to educate kids. But what do teenagers
think about the education we’re getting? Hear first-hand in this audiocast produced by NPR affiliate KUOW. 

>> Listen to the audio.

Pictured: Claudia Villa with her high school diploma

What You'll Hear

Teenagers share our stories, in our words. We dissect school standards that are
too hard, or too easy. We get educated in an unequal public school
system, and make decisions for what comes next after high school.

Stories in the program:

1. Amon "AJ" Frazier, 'Promotion In Doubt' WNYC's Radio Rookies

Amon 'AJ' Frazier was trying to get through eighth grade when New
York City's Department of Education made it harder to move up to the
next grade. AJ wasn't sure he could pass, but as he found out, the new
standards were more flexible than they seemed. AJ created this story for
WNYC's "Radio Rookies" when he was 14 years old.

2. Libby Donovan, 'These Kids Didn't
Want To Be There, And I Did' (Orig. 'I Was a Slacker in the Top Ten'),
Blunt Youth Radio Project

Many American high schools put students in 'tracks' based on academic
achievement. But at South Portland High School in Maine, students of
all abilities were mixed together in the classroom. Libby Donovan was
not pleased. She made this story when she was 19, for the Blunt Youth
Radio Project.

3. Amanda Wells, 'The Night I Met Jonathan Kozol,' KRCB Voice of Youth

Let's go on a field trip with Amanda Wells, age 17. She saw Jonathan
Kozol speak at Sonoma State University in 2005. Kozol has documented
and criticized "the restoration of apartheid schooling in America."
Amanda asks how she — a white girl — could help end racial separation.
She made this story for KRCB Voice of Youth.

4. Erika Ortiz, Paul Roldan, and Alca Usan, 'Where Were You Fifth Period?,' Curie Youth Radio

Time for a quiz. Why do students cut class? Is it because: A.Their
pants are wet. B. They're tired. C. They got engaged on lunch break.

Erika Ortiz, Paul Roldan, and Alca Usan get answers from students at
Curie High School on the Southwest Side of Chicago. They made this
story for Curie Youth Radio.

5. Sam Pearson, 'Sam Drops Out,' Youth Media Project

Sam Pearson was a student at Monte Del Sol Charter School in Santa
Fe, NM. He didn't want to be in high school anymore. So he dropped out.
Sam made this story in 2010 when he was 17 years old, for the Youth
Media Project in Santa Fe.

6. Caitlin Garing, 'Life After High School,' Alaska Teen Media Institute

More than a third of public high school graduates don't go to
college. One anxious mother doesn't know what her son plans to do. So
she hires a hard–boiled private detective to find out. Caitlin Garing
was a senior in high school when she created this noir–inspired radio
play for the Alaska Teen Media Institute.

7. Lena Eckert–Erdheim, 'Making It Out Of High School' Youth Noise Network

Lena Eckert–Erdheim asked fellow seniors at Durham School of the Arts
what they planned to do after high school. Go to college or become a
hobo? Hmm, tough choice. Lena made this story for Youth Noise Network
(YNN) at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. YNN is
now part of SpiritHouse. (Lena went to college.)

8. Tirhas Kibrzghi, 'Students Vs. SATs' WAMU's Youth Voices

Each year, the SAT test strikes fear into the hearts of about 1.5
million high school students. Colleges use SAT scores to make admissions
decisions, but many high school students say the test carries too much
weight. WAMU's Youth Voices reporter Tirhas Kibrzghi takes us inside a
testing center near Washington, DC.

9. Claudia Villa, 'The Kids Who Got Out: My Graduation Day' KRCB Voice of Youth

We spend graduation day with Claudia Villa. She went to the Clean and
Sober school for kids with substance abuse issues, and graduated with
teen moms, probation camp kids, and the rest of Sonoma County's
Alternative Ed class of 2006. Claudia made this story when she was 18
years old for KRCB Voice of Youth.