Student-Lead Campaign Trends on Social Media


Students United for Public Education (SUPE), a student-run organization co-founded by Graduate School of Education (GSE) 5-year teacher education student and Urban Teaching Fellow, Stephanie Rivera, gained a lot of attention this month when their social media campaign was at one point more popular than the Olympics on Twitter. On February 17, 2014, the campaign, Students Resisting Teach for America, used the hashtag #ResistTFA to chat about topics related to Teach for America (TFA).

“As a student, I know that college campuses are the core recruiting grounds for Teach for America,” notes Stephanie. “So I wanted to elevate the voices of individuals who have concerns about the preparation the participants receive. As a teacher in training, I know how much preparation and dedication is needed to provide my future students with the experienced teacher they deserve.”
The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about teacher preparation practices while reaching as many potential applicants as possible.  The outcomes of the twitter campaign have been very robust. By providing the space for people to talk about issues surrounding TFA, many people that have been affected by the company are not only sharing their stories, but they are being heard.
This campaign is just one example of SUPE’s activities. Stephanie and three students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison founded SUPE in 2012 to provide a place to discuss and improve issues affecting K-12 public education. The organization has expanded throughout the United States allowing these students to serve as a resource for each other.
Stephanie documents her experiences and thoughts as an education student in her blog Teacher Under Construction. Through her blog and other social media networks, Stephanie has been able to connect with students, exchange experiences, and develop ideas.

Stephanie’s activism was sparked when she discovered the inequities that exist in education while taking an Introduction to Education course at Rutgers. “I grew up believing everyone had the same access to the high quality education and opportunities that I did,” says Stephanie. “After reading and discussing the book Spectacular Things Happen Along the Way: Lessons from an Urban Classroom, I realized this was not the case and there was no turning back” 
Her passion for addressing this gap encouraged Stephanie to apply to the Urban Teaching Fellows program at the GSE because she wanted to be properly prepared to work with youth in urban areas. 
After graduating with her master’s degree, Stephanie hopes to continue working with the New Brunswick community as a lifelong classroom educator and activist. 
To learn more about Stephanie, visit a previous story profiling her
To learn more about the Urban Teaching Fellows program, visit the program’s webpage.