In the present moment, the Department of Education faces a multiplicity of both longstanding and unprecedented challenges to advance equitable learning for every student. Students are the sole stakeholder group with the lived experience of learning in the context of our world’s current challenges. Therefore, we must be essential partners in developing accurate policy priorities and actionable plans to substantively impact our education. The enclosed report outlines 5 key mechanisms to engage young people as meaningful partners in the next Department of Education.
Student Voice’s work is guided by the belief that in order to achieve equity and justice in our schools, power must be meaningfully shifted towards young people, particularly those who are most marginalized by the education system. Within this report, we provide a clear definition of student voice as recognizing and acting upon the fact that students are the primary stakeholders of our education and should be partners in shaping it. We outline specific best practices and cite examples for elevating youth leadership.
Since the presidential election was called, Student Voice has directly engaged hundreds of students through listening sessions about their hopes for the next Department of Education and fielded survey responses from thousands more in all 50 states. It is abundantly clear that young people are eager and ready to engage in the work of making our schools thriving, equitable, and life-affirming public goods. To adequately address the unprecedented challenges facing the education system, the Department of Education must meaningfully engage young people as partners.