Climate Changers

Updated: Mar 5


Many of you have heard me say that one thing I would like to accomplish on the Board of Education is implementing policies and practices that engage the student voice in all of our decisions. They outnumber us in our schools, they are the #1 customers of our school system – what they know is valuable. Their collective wisdom about their experience in our schools every day should be a focus in all MCPS decisions.To those who question the importance of including students at the policy table, doubt the relevance of their experience, or question the maturity of their decision-making, I offer this.

Over the past 24 months, I have been both impressed and inspired by the incredibly powerful advocacy and leadership our MCPS students have embodied in their work to make the world in which they live, and the future that they will inherit, a safer, more just, and more sustainable one.Young people around the world have organically organized to speak to the climate crisis in thoughtful, constructive, and forward-thinking ways. MoCo Students on Climate are part of that groundswell of young leadership. This group of informed and impassioned young people organized last summer, and have worked since then to engage and collaborate with County leaders and MCPS on ways to make Montgomery County and our schools more sustainable and 21st century climate relevant. Some of their work, and the research and rationale underlying them, are very clearly set forth in MoCo Students on Climate’s Advocacy brief, attached below. .During my tenure as MCCPTA president, as an organization we prioritized partnering with our students to support them in speaking to the issues they care about. As a most basic truth, agree or disagree with their message or methods, these young people must live with current decisions being made, and actions being taken (or not taken), far longer than current decisionmakers. The students will outlive us, and will inherit the impacts of our decisions. For that reason alone, when they organize and speak in deeply substantive ways, we owe it to them to listen, and support them in speaking to the issues they care about.Everything the students are doing, and sharing in their Advocacy brief, is textbook Advocacy 101. They rallied at the Board of Education on September 27, 2019 and have worked to partner with the Board on climate issues and sustainability all year. They have done their homework, are very well-versed on the issues, have concrete and well-substantiated "asks", and a clear message and plan.

Why would anyone doubt that MCPS will make far better decisions WITH students, than we do ABOUT them??Please take just a few minutes to read over the powerful, articulate, substantive and passionate work of these oh-so-impressive young leadershttps://mocoonclimate.wixsite.com/mocoonclim…/advocacy-brief

Lynne Harris

- FOR BOARD OF EDUCATION -

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