Alternative Spring Break 2013-2014 - Growing Roses in Concrete: Fighting for Educational Justice

Basic Information
Application Process: 
Alternative Spring Break 2013-2014
Trip Name: 
Growing Roses in Concrete: Fighting for Educational Justice
Trip Location: 
Bay Area, CA
Air Travel Trip: 
Number of Participants: 
Trip Description: 

Schools in the United States are more segregated today than they have been in more than four decades. Black and Hispanic students populate high-poverty schools more than any other minority. One in three minority students (32 percent) attend a dropout factory. 68 Percent of all males in state and federal prison did not graduate high school. Only 34 percent of low-income students actually enroll in college. Of that 34 percent, only 11 percent graduate. These symptoms of a broken system have received a lot of popular media attention, and the recent past has seen many proposed solutions to this national crisis.

But these solutions need to address more than just the symptoms. Students and schools are more than just statistics - they are communities that are central to the fight for educational justice. Grassroots community organizing offers an urgently needed alternative to traditional approaches to educational reform. The goal of community organizing for educational justice is to work with - not just on behalf of - low-income and communities of color to increase the power of these residents to speak and act for themselves, while simultaneously addressing the larger societal systems that have helped produce these failing schools.  

The goal of our trip is to explore the power of community organizing as a lens to strengthen the fight for educational justice. What larger societal and economic systems affect our education system? What has history shown us about the power of community organizing? How can art be used to challenge the educational system? What role do teachers, schools, and policy-makers play in fighting for educational justice? What does educational justice community organizing look like in the Bay Area? Explore with us. 

Trip Leaders
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Najla Gomez Rodriguez

My name is Najla Gomez Rodriguez. Originally from Mexico City and more recently from San Jose, CA, I am ambitious, honest, and family-oriented. I am studying Civil Engineering, and am interested in urban planning. As a low-income student who attended a majority-minority high school in East San Jose, and saw many of her friends tracked out of advanced placement classes and into the juvenile justice system, the issue of educational justice hits close to home. I have seen the effects of budget cuts and meritocracy limit the potential of my friends and family, and I see this ASB as an opportunity to share and grow with a group of Stanford students who care to learn more about this injustice. During my time at Stanford I have been highly involved with activities and student groups including MEChA, Admit Weekend, Sigma Theta Psi Multicultural Sorority, and FLIP (Stanford’s First-Generation and/or Low-Income Partnership). I am messy, loud, self-confident, reassuring, and optimistic. I object to binaries, war, and incarceration. I believe in social justice, true love, and freedom.

Jennifer Telschow

My name is Jennifer Telschow and I am a 5th year majoring in Human Biology with a concentration in Science Education in Underserved Communities. I’m from the south side of Charlotte, NC, and believe that above all, my roots are my strength. After my inner-city public high school was closed in 2010, I became even more committed to learning about ways to empower communities like my own to achieve their own justice and fight against systems and people that limit their opportunities. I’ve been on three ASB trips, ranging in topics from Urban Agriculture in DC to the role of charter schools in LA, and I’m beyond excited to share another journey about a topic so close to home. On campus, I am actively involved with Stanford's First-Generation/Low-Income Partnership (FLIP) and am a proud member of Sigma Theta Psi Multicultural Sorority. I believe strongly in the power of storytelling and art; everyone has a story to tell. I love southern accents, bay area graffiti, black and white photography, and any place in California that serves (real) sweet tea.