Harvard Educational Review
  1. Summer 2009 Issue »

    Youth Voices

    The Wanted Hope

    Olutomi Subulade
    9th grade, Westfield High School, Houston, Texas

    I live in a place where going through a day means people yell about our destroyed future, where No Child Left Behind did nothing, and you go to a school where people barely know how to read. Everywhere you look, you see Bloods, Crips, AIDS, and sex. Why should you care anymore? Then you want to think, “Wait, there’s something more—there’s got to be,” but then you remember you can’t go to a better school with a Nigerian father and African American mother, with six brothers and sisters. There’s no time left for the quiet one, no money left for her to go to a good school, because it costs the same amount as college tuition. What Barack Obama will do for my education is create the hope that was once instilled in all of us.

    People all over the world used to think America was the place to be to live the American dream and be what you want to be. That’s why my father moved here from Abeokuta, Nigeria to follow his dream for us. Look at the world today, full of hate and poverty. High school dropout lists are longer than the students still in school. People who want to get a good education can’t because the school they go to has to be checked for guns each morning. Look at people all over the world excelling as doctors, but here some people can’t get past a pee test. What President Obama will do is create schools that will be able to compete with the rest of the world. Students will be able to attain the good education that they deserve and desire.

    Students fail tests because they don’t understand, but they can tell you how much it is for an apartment in any metropolitan area across the United States. What’s more important? Should you know the answer to y= 2x + 3= 21 or how much money you’re going to need to get an appropriate apartment in New York, California, or Florida? You need to know both, and Obama will make sure we are being prepared for the real world while still getting the education that is needed.

    The Obama plan will affect me a lot because of its emphasis on college education. The Opportunity Tax Credit will help young Americans like me help repair communities, be mentors for a child, or help and be tutors in exchange for the first $4,000 of college tuition. I can do that. I can make a difference in my community and still earn credit for college. That makes sense to me. Also, making community college free will make a lot more people go to college and want to be something in the world.

    Obama has instilled hope in me. I feel like I am a Nigerian American who can do anything and be anything from a fashion designer to a doctor. I will get a good education and know that the people around me will be loved and wanted, and we will have hope in being a united nation and have a better place to live. Obama is going to re-create and reshape the dying American dream.
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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
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