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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

An Alternative to the Status Quo

The Boston public schools’ inability to meet critical standards set forth by federal mandate has produced both deliberate and inadvertent consequences. BPS teachers and administrators have scrambled to unearth a plausible solution to get their students to pass standardized tests in order to receive federal funding. In their quest to achieve the narrow definition of scholastic achievement set forth by the federal government, we have fashioned a school system rooted in the administration of standardized tests. Other crucial components to the development of our young adults are being neglected, specifically health education.

As teens grow into adulthood, many are subjected to destructive social forces plaguing the youth in our country: drug and alcohol abuse, risky sexual practices, poor nutritional habits. The increase in these behaviors is alarming: one in five sexually active teenage girls becomes pregnant every year, while one in five teenagers experiences violence in a relationship. One in six teenagers is overweight or obese. In order to cultivate a generation of successful adults, we need not only academically competent students, but a generation which is able to make healthy decisions. We must equip our students with the knowledge and skills they need to combat these detrimental social forces

One organization is fulfilling this mission. They go by the name of the Peer Health Exchange. The seeds for Peer Health Exchange were planted in 1999 when a group of Yale undergraduates began teaching health workshops in New Haven public high schools. They teach comprehensive health curricula in public schools that lack health education. ince 2004, the program has expanded to Barnard, Boston University, Columbia, Harvard, and NYU. This year the program has expanded to UMass Boston and Northeastern University in Boston and University of Chicago and Northwestern in Chicago. The organization is currently recruiting health educators, leadership council members and co-coordinators for the 2008-2009 academic year. We can make a change in our communities, only if we first make a conscious decision to do so. Instead of talking about it, we need to start being about it!

Those who feel impassioned about changing the status quo, and working with Boston youth, can find applications online at http://peerhealthexchange.org/index.html.