We partnered with over 60 schools across the United States to hold workshops and roundtables, opening the dialogue between students and adults about the importance of student voice.
A collection of inspiring students we’ve met along the tour
"Even if you get to go to board meetings, if nothing happens and your ideas are disregarded, it’ll feel pointless to go to meetings. So, I think that, in a perfect world, we would actually implement student ideas that are beneficial to the school. I understand that not everyone’s ideas can be implemented successfully, but I think effort to actually understand and implement the ideas that are beneficial to the school would be a good thing."
"A lot of studies have shown that this time period is the time to work out who you are and how you express yourself. I don’t think the dress code should limit that expression and how people show who they are. Clothes are pretty cookie cutter here. So it’s hard because expression is limited by the dress code so you have to go out of your way to find other ways to express yourself."
"I would add giving students more of an opportunity to go to meetings and talk about the things they are seeing, rather than just having the board decide what the school needs. We’re the ones who are going to the school and going to classes 7 hours a day. We’re the ones who are the key stakeholders, so I want us to have more of an opportunity go to to meetings and discuss what goes on in school and how we can change it.
"I hope teachers get better salaries and smaller class sizes. Some of these teachers are getting paid $20k, and I don't know how they even live here. My government class had 41 people."
"I think there’s this gap between the faculty and the study body, which, of course would happen anywhere, but the fact that the faculty seems so untouchable I think there needs to be more personal connections. We shouldn't be afraid to address something."
Understanding the state of schools from coast to coast
Students in Wyoming are overcoming local adversity and national stereotypes to advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion in their communities.
Extending the conversation about gender inequality to include K-12 school
Chicago Public Schools takes an innovative approach to implementing student voice.
In roundtables, students at Douglas High School discussed a myriad of issues, including school spirit, student apathy, the transition to high school, and the need for project based learning in their classes. Conversations about mental health were especially powerful, as students addressed the bevy of problems afflicting mental health services in their community, from a lack of resources or teacher training to stigmatization. For the first time, students found an understanding community to act as a support system.
Recently, Waterloo, Iowa topped a USA Today list as the metro area with the largest social and economic disparities along racial lines in the United States. At a Student Voice-hosted event, a diverse group of students from local youth-serving organizations gathered to discuss the range of ways they had experienced inequalities in their educations. Students built their change-making skills and broadened their perspectives on civil rights and inclusion within their community.
In what was many students’ first exploration of the shortcomings in their educations, students shared their experiences with their flawed sexual education curriculum, the apathy amongst the student population, the poor treatment of students in special education programs and bullying in a roundtable discussion.