Five things students say they want from education

2. Choice

“The one thing that students want most in school can be summed up in one word: Choice.” —Tricia George, principal, Sojourner School, North Clackamas School District, Oregon

“Upattinas School is an open and democratic program. Our students say, overwhelmingly: Freedom to participate in decision making—for themselves and their school.” —Sandra M. Hurst

“I am a K-6 teacher/librarian maintaining two libraries and connecting teachers and students with information. I see 800 students. They say more art and music and our choice of books in the library.” —Elaine Caffarelli, BSED, MLS teacher/librarian, Bethel/Penn-Bernville Elementary School Libraries, Tulpehocken Area School District

“Students want choice in what classes they have to take and what they do in class. They want choice in what they read and write, which math classes they take, and more elective choices. Although the core classes are important, so are the electives. Are we not educating a whole person? Students also want choice within the class. Often students ask, why can’t we slow down, either because of difficulty or because of interest? Answer: Choice is not an option for the teacher if he/she is going to meet state requirements. Also, students want to be able to pick what they read, read books at the appropriate level, and write about what interests them. Yet, schools can’t afford to buy different books, nor are teachers encouraged, and in some cases allowed, to offer students choice.” —Sherril Studley

“I want to do things I like.” —Diane Fee

1. Real-world application and relevancy

“Classes that pertain to the ‘real world,’ such as financial planning and a ‘senior seminar’ type class that provides practical information immediately prior to graduation.” —Mary Graft, cooperative education program director, Huntley High School, Career & Technology Education Department

“The one complaint I hear from students at South University is that they want more practical, hands-on experience and not just lectures and homework. I have worked hard to provide as much hands-on as possible. In computer programming class, students start writing programs on day one. In systems analysis classes, students begin a term project the third week of class that culminates with a complete analysis of a hypothetical systems problem. My one disappointment is that our network administrators will not allow us to have students set up and experiment with computer networks due to a perceived notion that students will damage the corporate network. I have begun to build my own stand-alone network that does not connect to the campus network and am beginning to offer students the opportunity to experiment. So far, this technique is working well and students have learned a lot. I strongly believe I can produce graduates ready for jobs in the 21st-century workforce.” —James R. Anthos, ABD, MBA, MSCIS, South University – Columbia| Information Technology Program Director, South Carolina

“Most often heard from students: ‘Why do I need to know this?’” —Anne Seifert

“Our students truly desire educational experiences outside the classroom. They desire to see and experience, first-hand, how they can apply their learning with real-world experiences during the normal school day.” —Paul M. Rutherford, Ph.D., Summit Technology Academy, Lee’s Summit R7

Meris Stansbury

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at

Comments are closed.