Listen to what kids say

I am a 5th- and 6th-grade humanities teacher at Codman Academy Charter Public School, in Dorchester. Our 5th grade has recently been digging into the Bill of Rights as part of a short unit on the Constitution and the structural design of our government. After the students got to know some of the rights already in place, we thought it would be interesting to generate a list of new ones. I provided a framework of categories (health and wellness, education, and individual freedoms) in order to both kick-start and center our thinking.

The students found some inspiration in their day-to-day school life. They offered ideas such as “no dress codes” and “kids can eat anything they want.” But their concerns for the general (and affordable) well-being of their fellow citizens was what really came through in many of their proposals — including “ending homelessness,” “making all food free,” and “no medical bills.” Ultimately, we revised the list to three agreed upon as most important:

· Free college for all

· Free health care for all

· Guaranteed shelter for all

Personally, I’m all for it.