Harvard Educational Review
  1. Summer 2009 Issue »

    Youth Voices

    The Times They Are A-Changin’

    Nick Judt
    6th grade, New York, New York

    When it comes to politics, most kids follow their parents. Until this election, that was definitely true for me. Ironically, it was because of this that I eventually developed such acute views of my own. Come the 2008 election, my parents became much more involved in an election than I could ever remember them
    being before. And when I asked them why, they said that it was because there was an extraordinary candidate running, a man named Barack H. Obama. They also mentioned that he was an African American man. During some of the primaries, my mom would break into tears of happiness. And as I watched her, my mind started to wrap around the idea of the world my mom and dad had grown up in. A world of racial hatred. In my dad’s case, it went all the way back to when schools were actually segregated. And as I imagine that world, I think of how far we have come. And then I think of how far we have to go. So that is what got me involved in this election.

    Almost every day in the past year, I have woken up with a thirst for change, a hunger for something new. And at every moment when the prospect seemed dark, my thirst only grew. Sometimes my mom would sigh and look at me with deep sadness in her eyes. And she would say, “It doesn’t look good, Nick.” But that was not going to be an answer for me. I would not compromise for less. I truly believed that the American people were ready for something new. And so I would look back and reply, “Mom, don’t look at how far we have left to go. The eye cannot see that far. Think of how far we have come, and then look ahead. Take it step by step. Then the road will not look so long.” And that is the core of my belief. All through this election I have had that fervor. Not only in America but in the world. It is time for us to rise and come together as one.

    When Obama won on election night, I was watching CNN with my brother, mom, and dad. Surprisingly, there were no yells or cheers. There were pools of tears and lumps in all of our throats. Inside, we were celebrating. But I guess there’s more than one way to express happiness. CNN showed reactions from
    around the world. The image that touched me the most was Africa. It was midmorning there, and  practically everyone had gone outside to celebrate. There was music, tears, and rejoicing of all kinds. And I turned to my mom, and I knew we were both thinking the same thought: we may not be at the top of the mountain, but we’re nearly there.
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    Summer 2009 Issue


    Editors’ Introduction
    Note to Educators
    Hope Required When Growing Roses in Concrete
    Jeffrey M. R. Duncan-Andrade
    A Dialogue
    Our Selves, Our Students, and Obama
    Jennifer McLaughlin and Kim Kelly
    President Obama and Education
    The Possibility for Dramatic Improvements in Teaching and Learning
    Linda Darling-Hammond
    Promise and Peril
    Charter Schools, Urban School Reform, and the Obama Administration
    Charles Payne and Tim Knowles
    Reclaiming Our Freedom to Teach
    Education Reform in the Obama Era
    Megan Behrent
    Obama’s Dilemma
    Postpartisan Politics and the Crisis of American Education
    Henry A. Giroux
    Second-Class Integration
    A Historical Perspective for a Contemporary Agenda
    Vanessa Siddle Walker
    Equity and Empathy
    Toward Racial and Educational Achievement in the Obama Era
    Prudence L. Carter
    It Wasn’t Easy to Get Here
    Kathleen Mayse
    Obama, Where Art Thou?
    Hoping for Change in U.S. Education Policy
    Wayne Au
    Praise Song for Teachers
    A Call to Action
    Ariane White
    Educating Latino Immigrant Students in the Twenty-First Century
    Principles for the Obama Administration
    Carola Suárez-Orozco and Marcelo Suárez-Orozco
    Education for Everyday People
    Obstacles and Opportunities Facing the Obama Administration
    Gloria Ladson-Billings
    An Insurrectionary Generation
    Young People, Poverty, Education, and Obama
    Jay Gillen
    An Earned Insurgency
    Quality Education as a Constitutional Right
    Robert P. Moses
    Barack Obama and the Fight for Public Education
    William Ayers
    Coda: The Slow Fuse of Change
    Obama, the Schools, Imagination, and Convergence
    Maxine Greene