Youth Mayoral Forum 2014

YMF pageOn April 24th, students from the Providence Student Union, Young Voices, and youth organizations across the city came together to ask tough questions of each candidate for Mayor of Providence. The youth-led forum was students’ chance to voice their education priorities to our city’s next leader. All six candidates for Mayor of Providence were in attendance.

Click here to see photos from the event!


Youth also developed their own platform, “The Schools Providence Students Deserve”, detailing the changes that students—the people who experience education first-hand—believe need to be made in our schools. Update: All six mayoral candidates have signed our platform!

The Schools Providence Students Deserve

An education platform by and for the students of Providence, Rhode Island

Our Goals

We all agree that our school system needs some big changes. But we have noticed that, through every new wave of education reforms and solutions, one thing always remains the same: students’ voices and priorities are regularly left out of the process.

We are the people in the classroom, and we are the people with the most at stake in our education system. As such, we know as well as anyone what really needs to happen to make our schools powerful places of youth learning and growth. Involving our voices is not only the fair and just thing to do; it is also the smartest way to actually design reforms that will positively impact our schools.

We—students from the Providence Student Union and Young Voices, in partnership with other student groups and youth across the city—have drafted this platform to establish a path towards the school system Providence students deserve.

We call on each of the candidates for Mayor of Providence to sign this platform and thereby commit to:

Creating a More “Student-Centered” Education System, including:

  • Introducing a more engaging curriculum and promoting hands-on learning

  • Developing strategies to better personalize learning around students’ needs

  • Prioritizing interpersonal skills and technological proficiency that prepare us for the 21st century

  • Changing from a dependence on standardized testing to a system of performance-based assessments that can show the student as a whole

  • Allowing students to have more ownership over their own learning and understanding that learning can happen anytime, anywhere

Increasing Equity and Access, including:

  • Improving school climate and culture by moving away from punitive disciplinary measures and toward restorative practices that address the root causes of behavior issues

  • Designing a safer and fairer approach to school transportation, including the reduction of Providence’s walking distance to a maximum of two miles

  • Focusing not just on achievement gaps, but also on opportunity gaps. A student’s race and class should not affect their ability to receive an empowering education

Ensuring Adequate and Up-to-Date Resources, including:

  • Significantly improving our physical learning environment, especially with major investments in school infrastructure

  • Guaranteeing sufficient staffing for schools, including full-time teachers for subjects like math, science and arts, and important full-time staff like a school nurse and trained counselors in every school building

  • Ensuring access to useful technology in school buildings to give students the tools to meet 21st century standards

  • Prioritizing and funding arts, music, and elective classes, and recognizing that these disciplines are just as essential as math and reading