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UC Course Offers Students Unique Opportunity To Give Back To The Community And Interact With Ohio Legislators.


The Pay it Forward program is a joint effort between the University of Cincinnati and the Ohio Campus Compact. UC is one of a small handful of Ohio universities to be awarded these grants to distribute to nonprofits.

Date: 11/30/2017 8:00:00 AM
By: Sarah Stitzlein
Phone: (513) 556-2439

UC ingot   Students in Education professor Sarah Stitzlein's honors seminar, "Save our Schools!" spent the semester immersed in the controversies surrounding education reform. They tackled topics from school choice to accountability and from alternative teacher certification to teacher unions.

Students were also immersed in the local community to learn how area nonprofits are addressing issues of childhood and educational struggles. Students undertook service-learning projects at four local nonprofits that they identified as aligned with important issues in Cincinnati: Crayons to Computers, MYCininnati, UpSpring, and Leadership Scholars.

The students gathered information about the mission and practices of each organization, collected and analyzed requests for proposals, volunteered for twelve hours at each nonprofit, and deliberated about which organizations were most deserving of funds by virtue of their impact on key struggles. The students decided to award grant funding of $1,000 from the Pay it Forward program to UpSpring and MYCincinnati in recognition of the significant contributions those organizations are making to children and education in our community.

The Pay it Forward program is a joint effort between the University of Cincinnati and the Ohio Campus Compact. UC is one of a small handful of Ohio universities to be awarded these grants to distribute to nonprofits.

The students used their classroom research, interviews with area teachers, and service-learning experience to craft proposals for reforming key issues in education, including: standardized testing, state report cards for schools, inequitable school funding, and voucher expansion legislation. In a rare opportunity for students, they will present their proposals directly to a panel of state legislators, including Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Dayton), Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati), and Representative Catherine Ingram (D-Cincinnati).

"This course embodies the sort of community-engaged scholarship that is at the heart of our public university's mission. While giving back to our city, students simultaneously have become informed and empowered to share their ideas with policymakers who can significantly impact education in our community. We are developing active, philanthropical, and informed citizens," Stitzlein said.

On December 7 from 4 to 6 p.m. in Tangeman University Center 400C, the winning organizations will receive their funding and the legislators will participate in the Education Reform Symposium. The event is open to the public.


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