Town Hall for Students on December 15

Two months ago, Secretary Arne Duncan accompanied President Obama to Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va., when the President made his nationally televised Back to School speech and challenged students to work hard and graduate. This month, Duncan will have a chance to check in on Wakefield students and find out how they are responding to the President’s challenge, as they gather for a national town hall for students.

Duncan will host the town hall in a special edition of the Department of Education’s television program, Education News Parents Can Use, live from Public Broadcasting System station WETA on Tuesday, December 15, at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. Throughout the hour-long event, he will take comments and questions from the students in the studio audience and around the nation via telephone, email, and video. The show will also feature an update on the Department’s “I Am What I Learn” student video contest.

Details about the special town hall for students on Education News are at

Students can contribute to the conversation right now by submitting a question or posting answers to one or more of the questions below. We’ll feature as many responses as we can on the December 15 program. Students may also call the show during the live broadcast at 1-888-493-9382, between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. Eastern.

Here are the questions:

• How can students assume responsibility for their own education?

• How can we do a better job of preparing students for college and careers?

• How can we encourage more students to become involved in community service and civic life?

• Who and what are the most important influences on today’s young people?

ED Staff


  1. This is a great opportunity for students to express their interests and goals for the future and provides many hands-on activities to get a basis for working in the medical field. I believe that, like I have done myself, an immense amount of students all over the United States should assume responsibility for their own education. This is by taking challenging classes and working at your best of ability in all classes. Teachers can do a better job at preparing students is by leading them step-by-step through their goals but not only that but being a great role model for all students. We can enourage more students to become for involved is by posting various advertisements that will catch students’ eyes but making it fun for them as well. Today, our peers, family, teachers, and most importantly our media/government are the most important influences. This is because we are overlooking their actions and seeing how we can take an account over that.
    leatest trend

  2. I am a Senior at Middletown High School New York. I am currently enrolled in the PLTW’s PBS. I believe that student can assume responsiblity for their own education by wanting to make a difference in their own life. i see it this way, if a student become more motivated then they’ll want to come to school and make students more aware of the things that the school has to offer. For example, the teachers could talk about it in the classes or over the anouncements, making posters to hang around the school. I believe
    that students can get more invlove in community service by having something they like to do in if they are a football player they can get invlove with the community and start some sort of game day or something that they can relate to. to try to make community service more appealing to them.
    The most influencial thing in young peoples mind is the media it self. If people see whats on the television they probably want to do it. I feel that if the media put more possitive things on then kids wouldnt want to be mean or do bad things.

  3. i am a junior at middletown high school in New York. i’m in the schools PLTW’S Pbs.I believe that students can assume responsibility for their own education by doing what they are suppose to do in class, for example when the teacher is talking they listen and learning the neccesary things to prepare you for the real world. In order to do a better job of preparing students for college and careers is by giving more opputunities of careers and for students to visit more colleges.

  4. I am a Sophmore in the Middletown High School and I’m enrolled in PLTW’s PBS.I think that the students assume there own responsibilty by themselfes. It is if they want to learn and what pace they want to learn it. The teachers can also try to be more hands-on but it depends if the student even wants to learn about it. The school can have more college prep courses to teach us how college works and the reqirments that are in the college life. We can encourage more students to be part of community by showing them how far community service goes. If we show the students how people arte living and how they have a great life, we can encourage them.There are many important influential figures in our lives. Who we listen to, our family, our friends, and sometimes even our own teachers can influence us. This generation is very influenced and we ned to make sure we are being influenced positively.

  5. hello i am a student in 10th grade at middletown highschool and i am inrolled in the PLW programs.
    i think that students can gain responibality of their education by haveing a sence of what they want to achieve in life. all they have to do to see it through it go for classes that they enjoy and they will soooner or later take responability.
    i personially think that teachers are already preparing us students for college and careers they are showing us that if we want a job we have to be on time and not late. that if we were in college they are not goin to take late work and excues.
    i dont think that u can tell kids wat do do and how to do it but u can show them a fun way that way they casn enjoy the community will later have an impact on theirs lifes when they need it the most like the education to get into a good college.
    the role models in the kids life to day would be famous people who came out of had places and made a difference in their lives. also some of them could be their parents who might have had a rough childhood and they admire their had work.
    thank you for your time=]

  6. I am currently a sophmore in Middletown HS NY. I am involved in a program which is very beneficial for my interest in the medical field. It is Project Lead The Way Princles of Biomedical Science. This is a great opportunity for students to express their interests and goals for the future and provides many hands-on activities to get a basis for working in the medical field. I believe that, like I have done myself, an immense amount of students all over the United States should assume responsibility for their own education. This is by taking challenging classes and working at your best of ability in all classes. Teachers can do a better job at preparing students is by leading them step-by-step through their goals but not only that but being a great role model for all students. We can enourage more students to become for involved is by posting various advertisements that will catch students’ eyes but making it fun for them as well. Today, our peers, family, teachers, and most importantly our media/government are the most important influences. This is because we are overlooking their actions and seeing how we can take an account over that. By having positive influences around the youth, I am sure that our young people will get more involved and strive for their future.

  7. I am a junior at Middletown High School in New York. I’m currently involved in PLTW’s PBS. I believe students can assume responsibility for their own education by coming to school on time and making sure they learn the proper necessities they need for everyday life in the real world. I believe in order to do a better job of preparing students for college and careers is by giving more program oppurtunties of careers students are interested in taking. The most important influences on today’s young people is media and the people around us.

  8. Im a junior at middletwon high school i think the way students can asume responsibilites for their own education is by succesding and wanting to learn. the schools can do better jobs for perpering us for college by giving us some college classes in high school so we have a little experience for what were getting perpared for.the way we can encourage students to become involved in community service and civic life is by doing activitys that young adults would like and a a variety.The most important influencers are our parents and teahcers trying to do what we need to do and push us foward so we are sucessfull in life.

  9. student can assume responsiblity for their own education by wanting to make a difference in their own life. I feel that if students become more motivated then they will want to go to school want to do the right thing.
    make students more aware of the things that the school has to offer. teacher could talk about it in the classes or more anouncement,posters more awareness in the schools.
    students can get more invlove in community service by having something they like to do in if they are a football player they can get invlove with the community and start some sort of game day or something that they can relate to. to try to make community service more appealing to them.
    The most influencial thing in young peoples mind is the media it self. If people see whats on the television they probably want to do it. I feel that if the media put more possitive things on then kids wouldnt want to be mean or do bad things.

  10. I am a middletown high school student in the 12th grade currently enrolled in the pltw’s pbs

    How can students assume responsibility for their own education?
    Students can assume responsibility for their education by creating a better schedule to mange both school and extra curricular activities, and by not over loading themselves with work or activities.

    • How can we do a better job of preparing students for college and careers?
    We can give students a better insight on the life of a college student and all the necessary steps that need to be taken to get to that point; the same can be done with careers. Also stress the importunacy of what colleges and careers look at.
    • How can we encourage more students to become involved in community service and civic life?
    We can encourage them by showing how far a good deed goes. Show them ways to give back to their community, and how much good can come of it. Finally we can show them those who don’t have the luxuries that they have, and the struggles that others have to face on a daily basis.

    • Who and what are the most important influences on today’s young people?
    The people who influence the younger generations vary from family members to past historical figures to famous hip-hop/rap stars. Although the list may be long for those who may past their influence to the younger generation, the most important thing is that the message that these idles are giving to them.

  11. I am a seniorf from Middletown High School in Middletown, NY. Currently i am part of the PLTW’s PBS course. In my view students have to be responsible for their education they need to know where a good education will lead them. Students also need to be driven, they cannot be lazy in class and do just enough to pass by. All students need to overachieve and reach their full potential. You can help us prepare for college and careers by starting early in the classroom. Tell students or set up a program in which students at an earlier age are exposed about college and careers so they can be better prepared by the time they graduate. To get students more involved in community service you can make it mandatory like a credit to graduate from high school. But let the student choose what type of volunteer work they want to do. That way students as well as their peers can volunteer as a group. I believe the most influential people in students’ lives can be their teachers but most likely are celebrities and athletes. Students view their favoritge athletes and actors as their heroes.

  12. My name is Ashley and I am in 10th grade and attending Middletown High School in New York.I am taking the PLTW class for PBS. I think students can assume responsibility for their own education because it depends on the work the student puts into his or her own grade. If a student really wants to learn and get somewhere in life they will work and try hard to achieve their goal.You can do a better job in preparing students for colledge and careers by giving students a chance to experience it. We have a program called BOCES whitch is great preparation for the real world.You can encourage students more in community service and civic life by making it more fun and enjoyable and as the more kids do it more will begin to follow.The most important influences on todays young people is parents and celebrity figures. The young population tend to follow and live by what they see at home. Also what they see on tv plats a big role on their lives. One celebrity figure that deffinately influnced my life by the way I think and act is Tyra Banks.

  13. I am a student at Middletown High School and I am part of Project Lead The Way program here at the school. In my opinion, i think that many schools could start providing new programs to students to get them involved in activities to help then with their studies. Students can take responsibility for their own education by expresssing themselves to their school teachers. Students should take leadership in the way things work for their own good. As students, we should start programs to help one another. We are all going to college someday so we all need advice as to how to make that step into enrolling into you want to do. We can all help one another if we wanted to. As for teachers, mostly counselors, they should have a meeting with their senior students like at least every two weeks to catch up with them about their plans after graduating in January or June. In my opinion, that could help students in making a decision and submitting all their essays and recommendation letters as soon as possible. Community service also needs to improve and I believe it can be done so. If students would go to a soup kitchen and help out more, they would be changing the way things work. Students could aslo so something good for their community. But as we all know, not many young kids are involved in any kind of community work because they might not know where to start. But that could be fixed. Making a school club here at Middletown High School would be pretty good to get students to get involved. If one person shows up, that would just be the start. Then next time they would just bring friends until everyones participating.

  14. I am a sophmore at Middletown High School in Middletown, New York. I am enrolled in PLTW’s PBS.

    • How can students assume responsibility for their own education?
    Students should learn about things they are interested in. Personally I read many books and will find myself on wikipedia learning about something that interests me. Whenever I hear about something that sounds interesting or shocking, I’ll usually google it. If learning becomes fun and interesting students will be eager to learn.

    • How can we do a better job of preparing students for college and careers?
    I would suggest giving more information on colleges. There are a million different colleges and it seems like everyone is great. How do I know which college is right for me? I would like to know from a non-biased source. Not a pamplet sent to me in the mail. Maybe instead of having college representives come in to schools to advertise a college actual alumni could come in.

    • How can we encourage more students to become involved in community service and civic life?
    Community sevice in my mind is correlated to something criminals and convincts do. It’s not something that sounds very fun and there is no incentive to do it besides the feeling of being altruistic. That is not enough of an incentive for most. Maybe if community service didn’t involve picking up trash or cleaning parks, but something else that fits the community’s needs.

    • Who and what are the most important influences on today’s young people?
    The media and friends. Whether or not they admit it, most young people are greatly influenced by the actions of friends and people in the media. We see how others act and most will just go with the flow.

  15. I am a junior at Middletown HS NY PLTW’S PBS. Students can assume responsibility for their own education by doing the work they get in school. I think that students here are already adequitely prepared for college and careers but it’s their choice if they want to take that help or not. I think that celebrities have a big influence on todays kids.

  16. We are two seniors from Titusville High School in Pennsylvania. We have had expreience in our school’s student assistance program. This program was designed to help students with setting personal goals in the classroom. Our SAP program is very successful here and is benifical to the all of the students involved. We are two of the many students who have found success in this program. It would be a great thing to have at every school, it helps children accomplish more. Children going through mental distress cannot always keep themselves focused on their schoolwork and the teachers involved in the SAP program help those students stay focused. We are glad that we were given the opportunity to have a part in this program and would like others to experince the success it may have.

  17. I am pleased that you take the time to speak to the students and teachers at higher education institutions such as highschools. Although it is very important to improve the educatonal opportunities offered in highschool, it is even more important to secure the foundation and love of learning at an earlier age. Preschool and Kindergarten to be exact. I am curious about how you will strengthen that foundation. One that has been picked away at by higher academic standards (ie “No Child Left Behind”) imposed on children too young to fully comprehend. I feel it is these early experiences in school that propel children to want to learn. It is these early experiences that will take children as far as highschool and beyond in their drive to succeed. Until those early experiences are addressed by you and your department, I truly feel you will never truly reach the older children that have lost their love of learning a long time ago. Maybe you can ask these students if they can remember a time when learning was fun.

  18. There are many ways in which students may assume responsibility for their own education. For one thing, education should become more competitive. More competition would compel lazy students to compete and weed out children who probably wouldn’t be college-bound anyway. In foreign countries like Japan, children are tested frequently in order to move from middle school to high school, and later they take broad-ranged tests to be accepted to university. They are ahead of our country because they realize that not all children are willing to help themselves, even with all of the resources force-fed to them. After a certain point, the money and resources used for special-needs children should be used for students who are excelling in school. Some children are incapable of learning and should be taught how to do skills that don’t involve a college or a high school education. Students would be pressured early on to take responsibility for their education due to the fact that they would no longer be force-fed.
    The education system could do a better job preparing students for college and careers by having classes that pertain more to their future careers and free courses for S.A.T. prep, not tutoring for S.A.T.’s that cost $500 dollars!

  19. The key to success is DEDICATION! I am a Senior in a small rural school in Oklahoma, and I personally know the effects of what an underfunded school system can have. Personally, Im really disappointed that I dont have the same access to a quality education like those found in inner-city schools. We need to as a nation, work to target our smaller schools and ensure that those students are as prepared as every other student. Students themselves need to work hard and remain committed to the task at hand. It really upsets me to see other students having an apathetic attitude and simply giving up in school, when there are other students in various foreign countries who are literally fighting to get an education. We must find some way to ensure that students are kept involved with school with subjects that interest them and that everyone is given the same oppurtunities.

  20. I am an eleventh grade student at New Castle Senior High School in New Castle, Pennsylvania. I believe that students should assume responsibility for their own education by attending school every day to prepare themselves for their future. By attending school every day, students put themselves in a positive environment which allows them to learn and concentrate on their education. It also allows students to focus on their work and studies which will benefit the student’s futures by getting good grades in order to attend college. By attending school and getting good grades, students will be able to achieve the goals they have set for themselves throughout their life.

  21. I am a junior at New Castle Senior Highschool,Pa. I have been a student of this school district all my life. I feel that as a student I also have to do my part and take responsibility of my life and most of all my education. If the adminsitrators and teachers take their time and effort to help us succeed with our education and reach our goals then we as students need to do that too. To assume responsibility as students we should try to stay organized and try our hardest with our assignments. We need to stop depending on our parents, friends or teachers to get us through higschool and we need to learn how to make it through ourselves because out in the real world no one can really help us. It is OUR responsibility and OUR job to take part and take hold of our education and we as students should want to succeed and go to college and become something great, but for those things to happen we need to start now with the little things by doing our homework and studying for those tests and then we will succeed in life.

  22. 4.) Who and what are the most important influences on today’s young people?

    I am an eleventh grade student at New Castle Senior High School in New Castle, PA. I believe that young people today look up to many individuals like parents or teachers to better themselves. Parents have a great influence because they are usually forcing their students to be successful in school and to obtain good grades. Teachers are also an influence because students expect them to be extremely intelligent and to know how to succeed in life. They are the people who are teaching the students to better their future. Teachers need to stop giving so much work, and maybe more of the students would take in their advice. These are the significant people whom I believe have the most important influences on young people.

  23. I am a junior at New Castle Sr. High School in Pennsylvania. I feel that in today’s society, most young people are influenced by what is posted on the television, on such places as MTV and VH1. The things promoted to young people on T.V. are not things that should be showed to people. Many things promoted include drugs, drinking, and other things related to those subjects. I feel that it should be illegal for people like the ones that promote these on T.V. to be allowed to do so because they become major influences on a person’s life. Therefore, i believe that the influences on a young student’s life should consist of people who succeed in the world, along with their parents, and in today’s world that is not the case.

  24. I’m from New Castle Senior High school and I believe that when trying to encourage and prepare students on going to college and better careers, teachers should try to make their courses more student-friendly. If some teachers start out with something unbelievably hard, what would make a student want to continue with that? Nothing, that’s what. Most teenagers have a job and are working at the same time as school and it is extremely hard to try to go to work after school, get home at 10 at night and then finally try to do homework for each subject. I firmly believe that teachers should talk with each other before scheduling tests or projects because when we have 3 projects due on the same date, along with work and other homework, it discourages kids and makes them not want to give their best effort because we are physically and mentally exhausted. When teachers spoon feed us for so long and then the agenda changes abruptly, our scores suffer because we are so used to one thing. And also, there are many different levels of each student that go into each class and those that are more or less advanced should be placed into the class according to that. Most kids that are in honors shouldn’t be and some kids that are in basic should be in an honor’s course. When teacher’s have to spoon feed because of the lack of ability and then change because administrators decide that the course is too easy, then the kids who are suffering get the short end of the stick and then the kids who are doing well suffer as well because they aren’t used to the change. I also believe that there should be more programs inside and outside of school that students would enjoy that would have a good learning experience and also keep them out of trouble, making them want to learn more and by good, clean, and safe environments.

  25. Who and what are the most important influences on today’s young people?

    I am in 11th grade at New Castle High School. I believe that the most influence in the educational world comes from teachers. They are the people every student respects in some way. If there is an incompetent teacher hired just to fill an empty spot, or just because of your name, than it will not have a positive effect on students. Teachers should be chosen with the greatest care and consideration to insure that they will have the most positive influence on the student possible. There should be a strict interview and some other steps taken to ensure this before hiring a new teacher.

  26. How can we do a better job of preparing students for colleges & careers?

    I am Ryan from New Castle Jr./Sr. High School. For students to be better prepared for college, the schools need to stop worrying about how well they look on standardized tests. While they are important and should be taken seriously, our future is more important. Once we have the SAT scores to get into college, what happens once we get in and are not prepared for the level of difficulty and types of classes that we will be taking. Students should be able to choose which classes they want to take, suiting their possible career choices, and spend more time on the subjects that are necessary for their development in that area. While a basic understanding of every subject is necessary, an in-depth one is not. Students should only study what they will use in the future and waste less time on irrelevant subjects.

  27. 4.) How can we do a better job of preparing students for college and careers?

    I am an eleventh grade student from New Castle Sr. High School, and I feel that in order to better prepare students for college, more programs and classes must be put into the school that specify things that need to be done for and what needs to be done in order to go to college. The majority of the students have no idea about college. I feel that if classes that helped kids figure out what they are going to do for college were put into schools, it would be very beneficial.

  28. I am a student at New Castle Jr/Sr High School in New Castle, Pa. This is my first year as a New Castle student having transferred from Neshannock Jr/Sr High. At both schools I have noticed that students seem despondent to their school work. They are more interested in parties and socializing than the actual school work. Students will only assume responsibility for their education when it becomes more than just having to sit in a school room all day. When students truely realize how much it matters to their college education and the rest of their lives. Another way to get students interested in their school work would be to offer more courses that appeal to them. This would also help prepare them for college. If a student has a specific job in mind for the rest of their lives and can not take a course that relates to it in high school, then why be in high school? They may view it as more of a waste of time than an actual tool for supporting their future.
    Community service is an important activity for the young people of this nation. It teaches hard work, responsibility, and most importantly, a sense of community and togetherness that has been lost slowly over the years. Community service teaches young people to be there for their neighbors and also helps better the communities of this great nation. In order to get young people involved though, they must be interested in what is being asked of them or else they will not want to get involved. Some students like to paint while others enjoy building. By utilizing each students likes and talents they can give them more options in what to participate in to help the community.
    Influences in todays society rest with the music and television industry. Two items that I see used the most, above all others, are ipods and televisions. The music that many artists sing and perform today send a negative message to the youth of America. Lyrics of murder, rape, and drugs are in practically every single favorite song of these young people. Television shows have story lines of perversion and sex, yet we wonder why our young people carry guns and commit crimes. Our entertainment industry is filled with these negatives messages that we are sending our young people and then we punish them for simply following ideas that they are surrounded by. What goes in will eventually come out.

  29. Young people today are greaty influenced by their friends and peers. They stay in packs with friends and do the same things; kids tend to do what other people in their classes do. For instance, if a teacher gives a long assignment over a long weekend or break, some students may decide not to do it. When this happens people will tend to follow eachother, so if some of the class doesn’t do the assignment others will often follow by not doing the assignment also. Kids are othen important influences on eachother which means when given things to do in school the class may end up deciding what majority of the class actually does the assignment. They follow eachother in their choices whether or not they will do what the teacher has given them to do.
    Kids are sometime scared not to follow others because then they won’t fit in, so when it comes time to doing school work, if most of their friends decide not to do it most likely they will follow in suit. They feel that if no one else is going to do it then why should they. Poeple don’t like to do things on their own or be the only one to do something so they often get friends to do it with them. Kids often won’t do an assignment if they know that no one else is going to do it with them. This shows that kids are scared not to fit in or be different than others. It is the same with the cool new trends. People often do things to fit in with the majority even if its not what they truly want. This is called peer pressure: most people dont think of it to go as far as school work but it often does. Peer pressure doesnt just involve things like doing drugs or drinking alcohol but can also involve school work and what kids do in school. One example of peer pressure with school work is if an assignment is given and most students say they don’t want to do it for som e reason then they may force others not to do it to. They may not do this by choice or on purpose but by their actions they can easily force others to follow them. Kids will follow them to fit in and do the same because the may be scared of being the only person in the class to do a certain assignment. This is why young people are often important influences on eachotner in school

  30. My name is Raysean and I attend New Castle Jr. Sr. High School. I believe that students can and should assume responsibility for their own education by attending school and actually doing work. Many students are rarely seen in school, and when they are there they do not do participate or they are getting in trouble. The way students can assume their responsibilities for their education is by looking at themselves in the mirror and by changing the way they are.

  31. I am a student in eleventh grade at New Castle Jr./Sr. High School in New Castle Pennsylvania. As such I have a grasp as to what could be done to improve how students are prepared for college and for their careers. What should be done is that a student should be allowed to pick from a young age a general topic to focus their attention on, rather than be an all around student and Jack of all Trades so to speak. If a student should choose to study sciences rather than English then the classes should focus around sciences. I by no means intend to say that other courses are not important, but rather that you should learn what plan on using later on in life. If you plan to be a Math major then the courses you take in High School should revolve mostly around mathematics with other basic courses. A College graduate with a degree in math will struggle to remember the very basics of grammar because it is not a course they focused on. Schools should allow their student to take more of the classes that they desire to take instead of forcing them to take what the students see as needless and useless classes. If a student should decide at age ten that he wishes to be a music teacher then the school should accommodate that student and his wishes. By continually forcing the student to do work that they do not wish to do the students will slowly stop doing work, simple psychology. Use the talents that the students have regardless of what you may think of them. If they possess the ability to draw then they have it for a reason. Art is beautiful and influential, but this art is strangled by the schools forcing the students to allow their talent to suffer. In order to prevent this schools should allow their students to pick what they believe is important rather than the traditional way of today. This would prepare them for the world they will face after High School and the career that they would choose.

  32. Who and what are the most important influences on today’s young people?

    The most important influences on today’s young people are the people they look up to. These people can be musicians, professional sports players, or other pop culture figures. If these people show young adults that it’s acceptable to behave in an innapropriate way, they will start thinking it’s okay to act in that way also. For example, Lil Wayne is self-proclaimed illegal drug user and he’s also a role model to young adults who listen to his music. He is not criticized by his demographic for it so it’s accepted. Kids need to have better role models so they can see better behavior.

    I am in 11th grade at New Castle Jr./Sr. High School in New Castle, PA.

  33. I am a student at New Castle High School, and I think we can prepare our students for college and careers by adding more similiar experiences throughout our education and schedules during school. Classes could be offered that give students an oppurtunity to learn more about the careers or majors they might want to persue, because not all students have the same likes and dislikes, and they should have the option on what to learn and get experience with.

  34. My name is Ja’Nia and I attend New Castle High School. In my opinion, to encourage more students to become more involved in community service and civic life there needs to be more influential adults involved. Not many students will do it just because. If there are exciting things to go along with community service, and role models to help show good civic life then more students will be attracted in doing so.

  35. My name is Chris and I attend New Castle Jr./ Sr. High School. I believe that the school district can prepare students better for college and careers. While we do math and other subjects, doing more hands on labs and dealing with real life situations will help us out later in life.

  36. 1.) How can students assume responsibility for their own education?

    I’m a student at New Castle High School. First, student responsibility is the key to all development and learning. Research has demonstrated that college outcomes are tied to the effort that students put into their work and the degree to which they are involved with their studies and campus life. Second, irresponsible students diminish our collective academic life. Within an individual classroom, the behavior of even a few highly irresponsible students or, worse, a large number of passive, disaffected students can drag a class down to its lowest common denominator. For an institution, the erosion of an academic ethos can lead to a culture that is stagnant, divisive, and anti-intellectual.

    Third, the habits of responsible civic and personal life are sharpened and refined in college. Will employers, international economic competitors, or future history itself be tolerant of students who fail to develop sufficient self-control and initiative to study for tests or participate in academic life? Finally, if colleges are to reclaim the public trust, they must learn not to make promises that cannot be kept. Colleges have responsibilities to students and society. Yet, colleges are not solely responsible for the outcomes of their students. A clear acknowledgment of the mutual obligations of all members of the academic community is a prerequisite to restoring the academy’s balance and clarity of purpose.

  37. I am an 11th grade student from New Castle, Pennsylvania. I attend New Castle Jr./Sr. Highschool. I believe in order to do a better job of preparing students for college and careers would be focusing more in depth in certain studies. Writing is very important and I think teaching more technique would be very helpful. Focusing solely on essays and grammar is not enough, research papers and articles are more important when in college. Many students all feel the same, we focus on the PSSA more than needed! Although it is important, the material used for the test is much more basic than what is in college. We could be using that valuable time to do more preparation work for college.

  38. My names is henry and I attend to bryant high school.Well I think students can assume their own responsibility by going to school every day, doing their homework and also paying attetion in class. Sometimes they blame the teachers that the teachers don’t give them work or homework. Well some of them do, but I think it is our fault because we dont pay attention in class. We need to work more at home , but we always decide todo others stuff than do our homework thats why we never make progress in school . well my advice to be more successful is to assume our own responsibility and come to school every day.

  39. 13% of our children fall within the 70-85IQ range and receive NO support within our public schools. They are labeled slow learners. Most educators struggle to meet these students needs because it is very difficult to teach these students who are doers (versus thinkers) when we are required to teach them on their grade level instead of their ability levels. As a Special Education teacher and a learner who struggled with memory I find it VERY frustrating to teach these student in the current educational system we have in place. These are students who can become productive citizens who will keep our country running if we are willing to accept them for who they are.

  40. Arne,
    Please, please, please take another look at NCLB> Terrible things are happening so that schools can make AYP. Students are denied Sp.Ed. services so as to avoid forming a “subgroup.” Special ed. kids can not pass these tests at grade level becuse they have serious reading, writing and processing problems taht RtI, accomodations and modifications don’t address. Teachers are being blamed and mistreated by administrators and finally, young people are not going into teaching because of the low pay, very harsh working conditions and endless blame being foisted upon teachers.
    Can you please help us? I have been teaching @20 years and am seriously considering a career change even though I love teaching. I.m 51 and am having a very hard time handling the ever increasing stress.

  41. I’m a student at Bryant High School, and I’m originally from El Salvador. I’m writting this blog because I think teenagers

    need someone to encourage them to be successful . Well I think today the influences on young people is the family.

    The family always encourages them to continue in school, and they also provide money and support.

    The family is always there when you are in the good and bad times .

    Well other influences are the internet. The internet helps to find every thing about college, but also have bad influences too.

    To avoid those bad influence’s try not to go to other pages that don’t help you.

    Well in my family I’m the only one that still is in high school, and I would like to go college. I dont think I can make it because my only support is my mom. She

    does’nt make that much money, so I’m trying to get a job so i can be more successful.

    and im also trying to get a good level of education, because if you have a good level of education you can earn more money

    young people always have good influences in their life but sometimes we make mistakes but we dont take advantage of the good influnces .

  42. 2. How can we do a better job of preparing students for college and careers?

    Bryant is a great alternative high school in alexandria VA that opens the door for many students. It doesn’t matter how old they are. They are so welcome to enrroll in this school. This school provides great teachers that help many student to prepare to go to the college, and the teacs encourages many students in the book club to read abut the subject that are good and bad for them.The students are so happy to have other people that are worried for their future and are so thankful to them.The teachers recommend many student, dn’t give up in any of your classes that will help you in the college.

    The parents are in charge of preparing their children to go to the college. The parents have the whole responsibility for their own childen to do the best in the school. In this way it could be more easy for them to go to the college. Also the academic classes are free for all the students in particular. They can have many benefits in each of these classes. They can learn more about careers. The parents could encourage the children to take the FCPS academy class. Another great benefit is they don’ need to pay for the Academy classes.Here in the United States is a country that helps many people to make their dreams come true. This is the biggest oportunity that many student have. It doesn’t matter what native country they come from. For example the parents don’t need to pay for a course that the school offers. In addition they can save money.

    Finally, we are very thankful with one of the people who provides all these great programs for all student in different states. This person I am talking about now is the president Barack Obama. He is a great person who helps many people including me. Also I want to say something that makes me feel strong is that the president never leaves any children behind in their education. Beside, the education he has other programs to help people. For example , he provides health care, daycare , jobs ,and Project Opportunity for young mother like me . Thank you, and you are a brillant person who always giveslight in each people to see the world differently. Furthermore I hope that you complete every thing you promise. We trust you! Now is your turn to try to make all the things come true. Again, a thousand thanks. You are special to me, President Barack Obama. In the same way I hope your dreams come true too.

  43. Many students in the world have to assume responsibility for their own education. The education is one important part in our life. The students can assume responsibility by coming to school every day which will help them to understand better their classes and pass all the exams, so they can go the college. Also they can study hard to know more about their career. Above all students want to be a knowledgeable person, so they have to finish their education. To finish your education means, to pass high school and to go to the college. Then this will make your dreams come true.

    Again the parents have to help their children by talking to them. when they spend their time doing something wrong. The parents have to be a part of the responibility of their children’s education by encouraging them to attend to school. The parents have to be alert to how their children spend most of their time because the children always want to do whatever they want if nobady is watching them. Always keeping their children busy in something that will help them focus on their education and stay away from drugs.

    The teacher is so important in the responsibility of students’ education because they can give a tittle bit of information about the classes they will take in the collage. Maybe this makes the student to be more interested in the classes when they are almost finished with high school. I know that they always teach us in many subject that help us to progress in our education.

  44. Secretary Duncan thank you for taking my question. As a former school teacher, first generation college graduate, former corporate executive and current educational entrepreneur, I am intimately aware of what it means to have and not have access to quality education. Over the past 8 years, I have worked with hundreds of college bound kids from all socio-economic backgrounds. The most pressing issues for the majority of these students centers around access to quality education, timely and pertinent information, internal and external expectations, student empowerment, and most important money for an “affordable” college education.

    Since I am a college admissions counselor, I will provide suggestions on how to prepare students for college and careers.

    My proposal:

    Create a speaker series in middle school and continue it through to high school. The series can be co-sponsored by corporations and public agencies where students can hear working adults talk about their various jobs and careers.

    Establish Parenting Centers on Campus or in Community Centers. These centers must be open on Saturdays and be a place where Parents can obtain information, assistance and help right along side their children. Give parents more of a voice in their children’s education.

    Encourage lifelong learning by allowing distance learning for students. Enable parents and students to take classes online and allow students to receive credit for those classes. If universities want to continue to raise tuition then students should have the opportunity to complete as much of their education as possible to shorten their stay at 4-year colleges. Every qualified and able high school student should be able to graduate with at least 1 year of transferable college courses under their belt.

    Streamline the amount of paperwork required for administrators and teachers to complete and increase the auditing of school resources to see where the money is being spent on the actual ground floor. We need to decrease some of the bureaucracy associated to education. Require all “administrators” to shadow for 2 weeks per year at a public school either as a teacher or principal. This keeps them grounded and “in touch” with what’s going on in the trenches.

    Lastly, let your boss Mr. Obama know that it does not bode well for our youth to witness men and women who behave badly, receive bail out money coupled with enormous bonus checks for nearly bringing this country and economy to its knees. Remember, our children are watching and learning from us and someday they will be making decisions that affect the future of this great country. If we want our children to grow up to be good citizens, we adults need to begin putting our money, time and energy where we say it counts.

  45. My answers:

    ·    How can students assume responsibility for their own education?
    — To assume responsibility for their own education, I think students must first be aware of its importance by learning about the benefits and advantages it brings into people’s lives. Once students know these things, they can learn to stay open to, alert for and informed about opportunities for furthering their education such as scholarships, grants, internships and special programs. They can also focus academically on strengthening their transcript by building and maintaining high grade point averages by earning good grades and taking honors or advanced courses. In the end, it’s just a matter of truly caring about one’s future and knowing that a good education can improve it, because the student will then make a greater effort to excel in school.

    ·    How can we do a better job of preparing students for college and careers?
    — I’m currently a senior, so I’m about to finish up school and going through the (difficult) process of college and financial aid applications, campus visits, career choices, etc. It seems to me schools could better prepare students for this point in their lives by providing courses or workshops to educate them on the topics. Some already do, but they’re not very accessible to all students because the locations or scheduling make it hard for students to attend. Should these take place in school grounds and during school hours, students would find it easier to attend. I know I would have also appreciated some sort of work experience program as public schools in other countries have implemented. These can prepare students for the workplace and help them learn much more through experience than they might have with some self-help article or educational pamphlet.

    ·    How can we encourage more students to become involved in community service and civic life?
    — It can be accomplished by “catering” to the teenage interests by providing more diverse opportunities, and offering incentives in exchange. Although this may be ironic due to community service being about giving and not receiving or expecting anything in return, it could be worked out so as to attract students to the volunteer activities through the incentives and then letting them discover the other benefits of community service such as personal growth and satisfaction as they keep participating.

    ·    Who and what are the most important influences on today’s young people?
    — Today’s youth, as the youth of any period, is most influenced by their parents and their community.

    Thank you.

    Natalia Lopez
    BVS Student

  46. There are so many jobs out there in which a student can do to earn some money that will prepare him or her for college and careers. A student can get a part-time job to work as a cashier in a store or work in community service by collecting clothes and food for the poor people in the community. Doing this as a part-time job will help to prepare more student for college, by earning money
    I think the government should create more job programs for the students in which they can save for their education. The teachers can organize the students to go out and work car washing. It is the responsibility for the minister of education to build more benefits for students when it comes to better prepare students for college.

  47. Students assume responsibility by their attendance, timeliness, and to listen to the teachers when they’re teaching something important for the class. Don’t talk in class except if it is about the class to complete the exercise during class.

    Also, in our life we need to prepare for the future. We would have more opportunities in the life. We would go to college and get a career that gives more benefit in the life. The benefit that I would get are salary, developing professionally, paid leave, pay holidays, and insurance. 🙂

  48. As a public school parent, my question to Secretary Duncan is why are you ignoring the input and priorities of parents in your stakeholder meetings — and in your policies?

    This is exemplified in the fact that parents are excluded as key stakeholders that states must show support from to win your Race to the Top funding. Instead, in your regulations, you cite lots of other groups with less of a stake in the future success of our public school system, such as the business community and charter school operators.

    Your policies that would essentially force states to tie teacher pay and tenure to standardized test scores is not one that most parents support, as we have seen the negative impact of the overemphasis on standardized testing in our schools due to NCLB, and this would make schools into even worse test prep factories.

    Your insistence that states eliminate their caps on charter schools is also unpopular among most parents, as it takes away precious space, resources, and energy from improving our regular public schools.

    Your practice of ignoring parents is also shown by the fact that this town hall meeting is being broadcast during a sessions that’s supposed to be devoted to “Education News Parents Can Use” — but again, parents are excluded from the event.

    Many of us voted for Pres. Obama because we thought that he had an interest in investing the resources and attention to the needs of our kids in a way that the previous administration did not, in terms of reducing class size, eliminating overcrowding, and encouraging better learning conditions in our schools. And yet so many of your proposals are like NCLB on steroids. When are you going to start listening to our concerns?

  49. I’m Ronald Cruz, and I attend to Bryant high school. I think student have to assume most of the responsibility for their own education, but they have to be encourage by parents and government’s programs so they will be able to succeed on any curse we are taking.

  50. I am a student at Bryant High School. I think that every teacher who teaches a student needs to make them do more work in class when they are not doing anything. Students need to be on their best behavior so they don’t get suspended.

    Teachers need to encourage their students to take Academy classes and dont let the opportunity pass them by. For example I take an FCPS Academy class at Edison High School in Heating & Air Conditioning. Teachers need to talk to students about these opportunities because most students don’t know about them.

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