Victory Map: These Kids Had to Cross a River to Get to School Until Now

Every day people are winning campaigns on Change.org that address issues big and small. This week, we’ll take a look at four of these victories and how they changed education in the last week.

Many kids walk to school or ride bikes. Other are driven to school in a car or bus. But seven kids in Argentina – all under the age of 12 – have been crossing a river on foot to go to school.

These children live in Tucumán, a town that suffered a terrible flood in the spring. Despite the treachery of crossing the flooded river, they did so every day in order to go to school.

When Cecilia Galván heard about the plight of these children, she was moved to take action. She started a petition asking Tucumán’s Ministry of Education to give them a boat.

Twenty thousand signatures later, a boat was gifted to the children by a local bank. But Cecilia pushed forward, demanding that the Ministry start thinking about a long-term solution for these children. At nearly 39,000 signatures, the Ministry agreed to take a more active role in helping these children get to school.

One hundred and eight petitions reached victory worldwide last week. Nearly 15% of those victories were around education issues. That’s more victories for education than any other cause area in the last week.

Education is always a popular topic on Change.org, but as many of us prepare for the new academic year, there has been a sizeable increase the number of victories for education campaigns.

Sixty-eight percent of the education victories came from the United States last week.

Among those victories was a petition started by Olivia Ortiz, who is on medical leave for more than a year from the University of Chicago following repeat sexual assaults during the 2011 school year by her then-boyfriend.

Ortiz – an organizer for Know Your IX, a group aimed at ending campus sexual violence, and a complainant in her own Title IX suit against the University of Chicago – petitioned the university to allow her to finish her degree without having to reapply for admission. With nearly 1,500 signatures behind her, she received word from the university that she would be able to re-enroll without reapplying.

A pair of victories in the U.S. last week also highlighted an ongoing nationwide debate: how early is too early for school?

In New Jersey, parents in favor of later school start times successfully petitioned Governor Chris Christie to sign a bill that would mandate a study on the benefits of instituting later school start times in middle and high school. They cited the importance of sleep for adolescents as a main driver for pushing back the beginning of the day.

But in Chicago, parents successfully petitioned to do just the opposite. After Chicago Public School announced that most students would be starting school at 8:45 AM instead of 7:45 AM in order to save money on busing, parents asked to revert back to the earlier start. They noted that it was important for high schoolers to start the day earlier in order to leave time for extracurriculars and homework.