High School Student's Bill of Rights

1. Every student should have an advocate at school, one person who shares responsibility with that student for navigating high school and who knows the student’s goals and aspirations .

2. Every student should have qualified teachers who have responsibility for no more than 80 other students.

3. Every student should be able to attend a small school or be part of a small learning community where he/she is known, respected, and safe.

4. Every student should have the opportunity to work with a team of teachers that takes responsibility for a group of students and has time to work together to ensure student success.

5. Every high school student should have the choice of several relevant, rigorous courses where they think, read and write about things that matter and provide a bridge to college and work.

6. Every student should be encouraged to become an expert in something they are passionate about and have the opportunity to demonstrate this knowledge and skills in a variety of ways.

7. Every student should get the time and attention he/she needs to succeed–any subject, any time.

8. Every student should have the opportunity to use current technologies, participate in extracurricular activities, community service and adult world learning experiences.

9. Every student and his/her family should be made aware beginning in elementary school of the importance of higher education and should receive academic, college, and career guidance s that results in an appropriate choice of post secondary learning opportunities.

10.  Every student should have access to means-tested financial aid to attend the college or post secondary learning institution of his or her choice.

I first drafted this in 2002 when thinking about what students deserve from us.  It seems to hold up seven years later.  What did I miss?  What would you change?

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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My only question would be why it is only a 'high-school' Bill of Rights. There are so many who make it to high school with out the necessary skill to do basic things such as complete a job application or even read.
If you want to frame it this way, there needs to be mention in here that if these skills have not been established and supported before reaching this level 'services, supports and learning oppportunities' will be available to support the learning necessary to support the late bloomers who need the extra support for those critical skills.

Tom Vander Ark

email comment from colleague in China:
"Every student should have the opportunity to learn at least one foreign language and should be exposed to global learning opportunities including interactions with other students from around the world.
See what the Asia Society is doing on this topic here -- http://www.asiasociety.org/education-learning."

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