Thursday, August 30

Student Action: What is the NYC Student Union?

In my first post, I made a quick reference to the NYC Student Union. You might be wondering (and for purposes of this post I hope you are) "What is this so-called NYC Student Union?" Ashu Kapoor, an NYCSU member and organizer puts it this way:

The NYC Student Union (NYCSU) is an emerging collective organization of NYC high school students whose goal is to be a voice for student issues and rights, empower students to take ownership of their education, work with administration and DOE officials to secure an education students deserve, build connections across the NYC school system, and take collective action. The NYC Student Union is entirely organized and run by NYC high school students and is open to all NYC high school students interested in working to make a change in our schools.
The union was started by students from three Manhattan schools in spring 2006 to combat the cell phone ban. Representatives testified at the City Council Hearing on the issue, protested on the steps of Tweed (using cups and string as cell phones), and later had a letter to the editor published in the New York Times. From there we decided to expand.

After launching a student-created and run web site, the union held its first citywide student meeting Sept. 25, 2006. Students from around 15 schools attended. At the meeting, students aired their grievances about their schools and the school system.

For the rest of the year, NYCSU tried to take action on these problems. In addition to holding meetings like the first one every other Monday at the UFT, the union lobbied politicians on issues such as class size, security and funding; conducted workshops with middle school students on becoming engaged in their high schools; held a forum on youth involvement in the education system at Pace University with Future Voters of America; and then ran the Education committee of the 2007 New York City Youth Congress.

This year NYCSU wants to do even more. I'll keep you posted.

If you want more info or are a student who wants to join the union visit or contact

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