Students alarmed by results of school equity study - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Students alarmed by results of school equity study

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Alarming results from a school equity study by a pair of Memphis City School students have them taking action.  White Station High School students Zachary Monroe and Emily Aver had a life-changing experience during a Bridges-PeaceJam Leadership Institute project.

"We picked two schools that were in the same general area," Monroe said. "We went to those schools and we noticed the stark differences."

The students said there were surprised by what they found.

"We realized that the quality of the physical facilities of the schools is often so closely related to the surrounding area, but what's so interesting is they were so very close to each other, but so very different," Monroe said.

For instance, the school's surroundings.

"There's a fence around Lester, whereas Brewster is very open and welcoming," Aver said.

"We would maybe find one school that had painted white walls, and the other one would have bright vibrant encouraging posters," Monroe added. "One would have windows open with natural light that encourages learning, where one would have blacked out windows to save on AC costs."

Equipment at a school also made a huge difference.

"When you walk into Brewster, they have a projector," Aver said. "They've got the achievements of all their students everywhere, whereas Lester is working what they can get from the School Board.

The students said they're not only concerned about equity in Memphis City Schools, but worried how it impacts the United States as a whole.  At the institute, they learned some of the challenges had a direct correlation to community involvement, but that's not their focus.

"We're really trying to figure out rather than why it's happening, how can we fix it," Monroe said.

"I think once we've got the community involved, we'll start to see changes," Aver added.

The students presented their results to the Memphis City Council at Tuesday night's meeting.  Next, they plan to present it to the Memphis City School Board.

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