Farragut student's speech catches eye of national media

Over the last two months, Knox County school teachers and administrators have held a passionate debate regarding the future of their school district.

Some teachers say staff morale suffered due to the addition of new federal, state and district standards. The school district has held several meetings recently where the topic has been brought up, including this past Monday, when the school board voted to extend Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre's contract.

More than 50 people gave speeches at that meeting, but teachers and administrators haven't been the only ones to weigh in on this discussion; some Knox County students have too.

Some of those students have even caught the eye of the national media.

A speech given by Farragut High School senior Ethan Young has close to 2 million views on YouTube, has been mentioned on Glenn Beck's show, and Young has appeared on FOX News in the weeks since the video went viral. The speech rails against evaluations, standards-based education, and certain Common Core practices.

"We're capable of fixing education and I commit myself to that task, but you cannot ignore me, my teachers or the truth," Young said in the speech.

"When I walked out of the board room and gave that speech, I looked at my mom and was like, 'That's a weight off my chest,'" Young told 10News.

But, Young wants the attention to stay on his teachers and their message.

"Teachers, they do an excellent job of keeping it to themselves, but you can't help but notice sometimes when they're just burned out," he said. "The problem is when you tie student test performance to their jobs, and you tie in strategic compensation and it just creates a mix that makes it difficult for a teacher to do anything but test prep."

Young said he and other students did not coordinate their speeches; what happened was spontaneous. He's just hopeful their words will be remembered.

"I think all I did was give voice to things that people were feeling for a long time," he said.

Young is a senior. If you're wondering what he's up to next, he's not even sure. He says he's still waiting to hear back from some colleges.


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