Skip to content
Home » Help For Kids The Education System Ignores: Victor Rios (Transcript)

Help For Kids The Education System Ignores: Victor Rios (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Victor Rios’ talk titled “Help For Kids The Education System Ignores” at TED conference.

In this compelling TED talk, Victor Rios shares his personal journey from a life of poverty, crime, and loss to becoming an educator and advocate for marginalized youth. He challenges the audience to replace the label “at-risk” with “at-promise,” emphasizing the potential within each child, regardless of their background. Rios credits a pivotal teacher, Ms. Russ, for seeing beyond his troubled past and nurturing his inherent strengths, illustrating the transformative power of belief and support.

He advocates for an educational approach that values students’ stories and cultural backgrounds, urging the abandonment of deficit perspectives. Rios calls for providing adequate resources, including job training and mentoring, to empower students to learn from their mistakes rather than criminalizing their behavior.

Through the example of a successful intervention in Watts, LA, he highlights the effectiveness of restorative justice and community support in turning lives around. Rios’ message is clear: with the right support and resources, every child has the potential to overcome adversity and thrive.


Understanding the School-to-Prison Pipeline

For over a decade, I have studied young people that have been pushed out of school, so-called “dropouts.” As they end up failed by the education system, they’re on the streets where they’re vulnerable to violence, police harassment, police brutality, and incarceration. I follow these young people for years at a time, across institutional settings, to try to understand what some of us call the “school-to-prison pipeline.”

When you look at a picture like this, of young people who are in my study, you might see trouble. I mean, one of the boys has a bottle of liquor in his hand, he’s 14 years old, and it’s a school day. Other people, when they see this picture, might see gangs, thugs, delinquents—criminals. But I see it differently. I see these young people through a perspective that looks at the assets that they bring to the education system.

A Call for Change

So, will you join me in changing the way we label young people from “at-risk” to “at-promise?” How do I know that these young people have the potential and the promise to change? I know this because I am one of them. You see, I grew up in dire poverty in the inner city, without a father—he abandoned me before I was even born. We were on welfare, sometimes homeless, many times hungry.

Pages: First |1 | ... | Next → | Last | View Full Transcript