Create community engagement centers where students can explore their interests.

I am a relatively new teacher who teaches in an urban community. I agree a lot with Ken Robinson in that schools are not allowing our youth to explore their interests and a consequence of that is a lot of people are dropping out of school or dislike school. I don't believe that is only endemic in less affluent areas but this is a growing problem in most schools in that students are becoming more disinterested and bored with what they are learning. I only see this problem growing with current school reform talks because we are looking to further create a system of standards and testing with no talks about how we could include students in the decision making process. Politicians rarely talk about student enjoyment. Let's create a place for students to learn outside of the school's walls!

I don't think it is possible to change the structure of schools from the top in the near future. I believe there has to be another place where students can explore their interests. A place that acts as a meeting place for students, parents, businesses, non-profit organizations and other people in the community. These places could focus on learning by doing instead of the traditional style of lecturing and notes in a controlled setting. Students could learn about their community by working/volunteering with organizations and they could also be important change makers in collaborating with these organizations. Imagine a classroom with no walls. Let's utilize the creativity of today's youth.

What would you all envision a community center looking like and the types of opportunities available? I am wanting to create an opportunity for our youth to be engaged in their community. I need help.

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