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Etiwanda High Students Want to Read More Relevant Books to Help Foster 'Progressive Conversations'

Student Aliyah Addie at Etiwanda High School reflects on her findings while producing the story "Should schools teach more modern books?" for Students Reporting Labs.
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Watch “Should Schools teach more modern books?” a companion story to “Our New Normal,” a Student Reporting Labs special.

While working on our response to Student Reporting Labs’ Education’s Big Debates Challenge as a team, we wanted a story that could bring awareness to the books that we were reading and how they were old and non-inclusive. We felt that new and diverse literature wasn’t being taught or being focused on because the school system had become comfortable with the way it was. In order to add more depth and explain what we were feeling, we coined the term “progressive conversations” to describe the type of discussions we want to have in classrooms about real-world issues. If practiced in classrooms, my teachers and peers will be able to introduce new, upcoming, and important events that are occurring in the real world. I believe our piece “Should schools teach more modern books?” is important because it brings awareness to the lack of diversity and current information within the students' learning environment.

While researching, I learned that in many ways the U.S. education system is currently outdated and lacks the effectiveness needed to keep us engaged in school. Peers like myself wonder if the nation's high school curriculum is seriously flawed, pertaining to inclusion. As a reporter for Etiwanda High School, I came to the conclusion that students demand reform around this topic.

This experience urged us to start engaging in more progressive conversations in order to become more socially aware, improve social skills, and better interact with people from diverse backgrounds. While working with Student Reporting Labs, my team and I were able to capture students who were engaged and shared their honest opinions, which added more depth to the topic. Our project was a team effort and received much help from SRL producers, teachers and advisors, librarians, and our journalism director. This pressing call to support teens and their education is an ongoing issue that should be talked about way more throughout society.

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