Students for Education Reform

Bridgette Fossel

Inspired by “Waiting for Superman,” a 2010 documentary film which shows the failures of the American public education system, Quinnipiac junior Jordan Nadler has made it his mission to ensure all children have the opportunity for an excellent education.

Students for Education Reform, a national organization whose goal is to mobilize the next generation to close the educational gap for children, formed a chapter at Quinnipiac last December.

“About a year ago I watched the movie, ‘Waiting For Superman’ and saw that there is this huge educational inequality in America,” said Nadler, Quinnipiac’s SFER chapter leader. “Nothing had struck me like that before, and I just felt like I should do something about it or get involved. So, I applied to start a chapter.”

Two Princeton University undergraduates who wanted to speed up the pace of educational change in America founded SFER in 2009, according to a TIME report. Their objective was to encourage college students to get involved in educational reform and have an impact on public policy. The organization now has 71 chapters nationwide with five located in Connecticut.

After spending a semester writing a constitution and searching for an advisor, the chapter received national recognition, Nadler said.

“We are trying to influence policy in Connecticut to help close the achievement gap,” said SFER vice president Ryan Jean-Joseph. Jean-Joseph, a junior, plans to join the Teach for America program after graduation.

The five-member e-board plans to visit local schools and hold an off-campus rally to help support Connecticut education legislation, according to Nadler. At SFER meetings, there will be movie screenings that support education reform as well as discussions on achievement gaps, teachers unions, charter and public schools, lottery screenings and Teach for America.

“We are trying to spread awareness regarding the achievement gap and about educational inequality in America,” Nadler said. “A lot of the students here come from middle and upper class communities and went to relatively good public or private schools and don’t see the dysfunction in some of the schools in America.”

The University of Connecticut, Yale University, Trinity College and Wesleyan University also have chapters in Connecticut. Nadler and Jean-Joseph hope to share ideas and host meetings with those schools in the future, Nadler said.