The mission of the Providence Student Union is to build the collective power of high school students across Providence to ensure youth have a real voice in decisions affecting their education.
The Providence Student Union had its beginnings in the spring of 2010, when students from Providence’s Hope High School joined together to fight to protect their school’s popular block schedule from being dismantled. These young leaders formed PSU’s first chapter, which they called Hope United, and began a series of campaigns to improve their school and the quality of their education. After achieving a number of school-based victories, the group decided that their youth-led advocacy model would be valuable to students in other high schools in the city, and so PSU began organizing chapters across the district. We now have PSU chapters in several schools, each working together to increase the collective power of students throughout the city.
“Gist lauds successes, acknowledges challenges; some students give poor grades” –Providence Journal, May 1, 2013 (front page)
“Don’t You Love the Providence Student Union?” –Diane Ravitch’s Blog, April 30, 2013
“Providence High School Group to Protest NECAP Requirement” –GoLocalProv, April 30, 2013
“Providence Student Union Will Counter Gist Speech” –Diane Ravitch’s Blog, April 29, 2013
“Flunking the Test” –Boston Globe Editorial Page, April 11, 2013
“Board of Education gets earful from Providence Student Union” –Providence Journal, April 9, 2013
“Side of the Rhode: Who’s hot and who’s not in Rhode Island politics? Hot: Providence Student Union” –GoLocalProv, March 22, 2013
“This round is going to the students” –Providence Journal, March 20, 2013
“Most adults don’t make the grade in mock NECAP” –Providence Journal, March 20, 2013
“Sixty percent of adults who took standardized test bombed” –Washington Post, March 19, 2013
“Most adults ‘substantially below proficient’ on math NECAP” –WPRO News, March 19, 2013
“Breaking News: Adults’ Test Scores Released in Providence!” –Diane Ravitch’s Blog, March 19, 2013
“Standardized test for high school students confounds adults in Rhode Island” –Jezebel, March 17, 2013
“Adults stumped by math required for graduation” –Providence Journal, March 17, 2013 (front page, above the fold)
“Photo Story: Taking the NECAP” –Providence Journal, March 16, 2013
“Students dare educators, adults to take the NECAP themselves” –GoLocalProv, March 16, 2013
“Students ask policy-makers to take exit exam” –JoanneJacobs.com, March 16, 2013
“Adults get ready for NECAP” –NBC10, March 15, 2013
“Students to have adults take simulated NECAP test” –Rhode Island Public Radio, March 15, 2013
“What happened when a Rhode Island State Senator took a standardized test?” –Washington Post, March 14, 2013
“Standardized Test Boycotts, Protests Gain Momentum Around U.S.” –Huffington Post, February 20, 2013
“Student ‘zombies’ protest standardized tests” –Washington Post, February 17, 2013
“Who are the zombies?” –Diane Ravitch’s Blog, February 15, 2013
“Side of the Rhode: Who’s hot and who’s not in Rhode Island polit/’p;./ics? Hot: High School Zombies” –GoLocalProv, February 15, 2013
“Student ‘zombies’ take to the streets” –Providence Journal, February 14, 2013
“Students oppose test in ‘zombie’ rally” –Brown Daily Herald, February 14, 2013
“Student ‘zombies’ march on R.I. Department of Education” –Providence Journal, February 13, 2013
“Gist won’t be at this afternoon’s ‘Zombie Protest’” –WPRO News, February 13, 2013
“‘Zombies’ protest high-stakes testing” –Fox Providence, February 13, 2013
“Providence, RI: Students Plan ‘Zombie’ Protest Against High-Stakes Testing” –Diane Ravitch’s Blog, February 11, 2013
“Growing number of educators boycott standardized tests” —USA Today, February 6, 2013
“Providence Student Union works to empower students” —Rhode Island National Public Radio
“Students protest high-stakes tests: say requirement hurts those it was designed to help” –Providence Journal, January 31, 2013
“Breaking News: Students in Providence Oppose High-Stakes Testing” –Diane Ravitch’s Blog, January 30, 2013
News coverage of high-stakes testing protest –Eyewitness News, January 30, 2013
“Kaitlyn Kelley/Luzgely Contreras/Cheyenne Jones: Testing trauma” –Providence Journal, January 28, 2013
“Students want to scrap NECAP graduation requirement” –NBC10, January 23, 2013
“Rhode Island Students Suspended Over 41,000 Times Last School Year; A Solution in Providence?” –GoLocalProv, January 2013
“Democracy in Action: The Providence Student Union allows students to make their own decisions” –East Side Monthly, December 2012
“Students say science classes are inadequate” –Providence Journal, Page A1, January 13, 2012
“Students voice opposition to testing requirement” –Providence Journal, January 11, 2012
“Opponents say tests harm some students” –Providence Journal, October 5, 2012
“Hope students organize for salad” –The Brown Daily Herald, Page 1, February 7, 2012
“Links for the New Year” –Mark Bittman, The New York Times, January 13, 2012
“Students lead the charge for healthy eating: Salad bar gets the green light after Hope High campaign” –Providence Journal, Page A1, January 10, 2012
“Congratulations to Hope High School Students!” –East Side Public Education Coalition, January 10, 2012
“Hope High School students advocate for healthier lunches and make a salad bar happen” –Providence Schools (and beyond), January 11, 2012
“Speaking Through Supreme Court Silence: Hope High Students Challenge RI Dept. of Ed.” –The College Hill Independent, March 10, 2011
“RI Supreme Court to consider Hope High School case” –Providence Journal, February 1, 2011
“Providence Mayor meets with Hope High students” –Providence Journal, January 28, 2011
“Providence’s Hope High students win appeal to Regents” –Providence Journal, November 18, 2010
“Side of the Rhode: Who’s hot and who’s not in Rhode Island politics? Hot: Hope High Students” –GoLocalProv, June 25, 2010
“Walking Out, Filing Suit: Legal Challenge in Hope High Changes” –ABC6 WLNE-TV, June 23, 2010
“Local Teachers Support Student Protest” –WPRI Eyewitness News, May 25, 2010
“Superintendent offers to meet with Hope High students” –Providence Journal, May 17, 2010
“Hope High students protest schedule change” –Providence Journal, Page A1, May 14, 2010
“Hope High School Students Walk Out in Protest” –ABC6 WLNE-TV, May 13, 2010
“Students Stage Walkout” –NBC Turnto10, May 13, 2010
“Students at Prov. school stage walkout” –WPRI Eyewitness News, May 13, 2010
“Hope students organize to restore reforms to their school” –Providence Journal, March 26, 2010
We are so thankful to our friends and supporters who work with us on our Advisory Board. Besides student representatives from each PSU chapter, our Advisory Board includes:
- Jill Davidson, Director of Publications and Communications at Educators for Social Responsibility
- Luis Estrada, Office Manager at Sullivan Whitehead and DeLuca LLP and Executive Committee member of OpenDoors and RICARES
- Ken Fish, former Middle and High School Reform Director at RIDE
- Teny Gross, Executive Director of the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence
- David Karoff, Independent Consultant and previously Vice President for Grantmaking at the Rhode Island Foundation
- Laura Maxwell, English teacher at Hope High School
- Simon Moore, Executive Director of College Visions
- Jonny Skye, Executive Director of RISE and former director of Providence District-Wide Student Government
- Miriam Weizenbaum, DeLuca & Weizenbaum Ltd.
- Chandelle Wilson, AS220 Board member
- Misty Wilson, Head Organizer of Seeds of Change at DARE
Check out these videos of PSU students advocating for themselves and their peers across Providence!
PSU counters Commissioner Gist’s annual “State of Education” speech with our own “State of the Student” Address, offering PSU’s vision for the schools Rhode Island’s students deserve.
PSU students stand up loud and proud at the Board of Education, offering our vision for the education reform students deserve!
Zombies protest high-stakes testing! PSU explains why high-stakes testing turns students into zombies, sending this message to RIDE: “No Education, No Life!”
Kelvis speaks out! Members of the Providence Student Union organized a press conference in the State House to speak out against Rhode Island’s new high-stakes testing graduation requirement. Here Kelvis Hernandez lays out one of our arguments against this misguided policy.
Central United Teach-In: Members of Central United organized a teach-in to bring students, parents, and teachers at their school together to discuss Rhode Island’s new high-stakes testing graduation requirement and what the community’s response should be. You can watch the highlights here (and be sure to stick around to the discussion at the end, where many of the big questions around this issue surface).
Cauldierre testifies at the Board of Regents: Central United member Cauldierre McKay gives a stirring speech to the Board of regents about the detrimental effects of high-stakes testing on his education.
Bryan testifies at the Board of Regents: Hope United member Bryan Varela explains to the Board of Regents how different students respond differently to standardized tests.
Aaliyah testifies at the Board of Regents: Alvarez United member Aaliyah Cook delivers the testimony of Alan Yuhanna on how high-stakes testing disproportionately hurts ELL students.