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August 29, 2023

ICYMI: Campaign for Our Shared Future Elevates Student Leader’s Mission to Center Youth Voices In The Fight For High-Quality Education

Latest Blog Post on “The Unbiased Classroom” Explains the Importance of Student Leadership For A High-Quality Education

Washington, D.C. - Campaign for Our Shared Future (COSF) shares testimony from Addie Lentzner, a student and Executive Fellow with Our Turn, a national youth-led movement that promotes access to quality education. In the latest blog post for “The Unbiased Classroom,” Lentzner shares her experiences as a high school student during the start of the pandemic and encourages readers to center student voices in education decisions.  

Lentzner’s perspective adds value to discussions about curriculum and censorship. She understands how it feels to not learn about certain topics and the effect that has on her and her peers' ability to understand the world around them. Her and other youth leaders involved in Our Turn demonstrate that students care about what they learn, and student voices are crucial to creating a curriculum that is beneficial for all students. 

COSF knows that it takes collaboration to better education and students must be part of the conversation because they are experiencing the consequences of decisions every day. Their opinions can help us to understand what works and what could be better. Youth voices need to be heard so that they get the most out of their education experience. 

Read an excerpt from: “Want to improve K-12 Education? Listen to the Students.”

“Addie, what happened during the war of 1812?”

I quickly jumped from another tab - where I was focused on the latest news flashing across my screen - to the Google Meet screen for high school history. I unmuted, giving an answer I knew was nowhere near correct. I always loved school, and believed that education is one of the most important aspects of our society. However, I think we’re doing school all wrong. During 2020, at the start of COVID, my classmates and I had to transition to a whole new way of learning, while also navigating a period of reckoning with the incessant murders of innocent Black Americans.

I understand the importance of history, and I eventually learned what happened during the war of 1812. But a classroom setting where high school students are unable to process the events taking place in the world around them and the changes that are affecting their lives isn’t an environment that best serves us. We were experiencing a worldwide pandemic, racial inequality and police brutality, and the stress of virtual learning on our mental health. And we were expected to come to the classroom and forget it all.

The death of George Floyd was a moment of reckoning and yet it’s also part of a long history of race in America. A history that in too many places across the country is being erased by extremists and politicians. Did you know that there have been attempts to ban books or restrict curriculum in over 40 states? That there are publishers who have been pressured to remove race from lessons about Rosa Parks? This isn’t about making anyone feel bad, it’s about learning the true and complete history of our country - something that I didn’t get in my public school. 

As the country and world watched our nation grapple with racial injustice and the continuous police brutality, we as students didn’t have the history to understand how we arrived at that moment and what we could do to overcome the adversity we were seeing. How can we expect young people to think independently and create positive change if we don’t teach them the truth?

In short, we have to transform our education system to reflect the lived experiences of students and reflect the true and complete history of our country. 

You can read the full post here.

If you are interested in learning about the work other student leaders are spearheading related to K-12 public schools the Campaign for Our Shared Future would welcome the opportunity to connect you to their work. 


The Campaign for Our Shared Future (COSF) is a non-partisan effort to support high-quality K-12 education and preserve access, inclusion, and meaningful content in our schools so that every student has an opportunity to succeed and thrive. COSF is a common ground effort committed to fighting the attack on education across the country.

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