My name is Andrea Gomoll, and I am a current senior at St. Olaf College with majors in American Studies and an Independent Major titled Growing Up in America: A Systems Thinking Approach. Over the Summer and Fall semester of 2012, I had the privilege of becoming involved with the national nonprofit organization Students for Education Reform (SFER.) This student-led organization works to raise awareness about the educational opportunity gaps present in the US, and it uses student voice to unpack issues in education reform and take on advocacy efforts (big and small.) SFER operates in “chapters” located at more than 100 colleges and universities across the country.
My co-president Katie Busch and I underwent the process of establishing a chapter here at St. Olaf this Fall, and we’ve already had many exciting experiences–holding discussion series about Charter Schools and teacher assessment, screening popular education documentaries, visiting and observing several local schools, attending State and National SFER Summits, and even hosting a panel with local community organizers and experts in education and a local political speaker.
In SFER St. Olaf, we take a “local to global” approach when it comes to education reform. We’ve spent our first semester informing ourselves about the issues in education in our immediate and local communities, and we are eager to advocate at a local level in the near future. Though many other SFER branches choose to focus on national reforms and larger scale policy, we are interested in becoming involved with the great work that is already happening for education in our Northfield and Faribault communities.
For a more thorough overview of our first year goals, check out this Prezi:
Throughout this resource guide you will find tools to guide the organization of future SFER St. Olaf Events, develop a strong Executive Board, articulate your student group’s mission, and build a network of important relationships. You will also find a set of resources that may help fuel group discussions about the scope and definition of “education reform.” These include books, movies, TED Talks, and a selection of articles.
Equity in education is the Civil Rights movement of our generation, and here at St. Olaf we are working to conscientiously engage in the conversation and movement of education reform.