Student Voice, a national student-led organization advocating for student voice and equity in education, is calling on school districts, state governments, foundations and the broader private and public sector to involve students in decisions about reopening schools after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taylor Kahn-Perry, the Executive Director of Student Voice said, “It is vital that young people, especially those from communities that have been historically marginalized by the education system, are partners in creating sustainable and equitable plans to reopen schools. Now more than ever, building trusting relationships between young people, teachers and adult-decision makers must be a priority to make sure our new systems are designed to benefit their key stakeholder: students."
Jenna Yuan, a senior at Eastlake High School in Sammamish, Washington, a student member of the Re-opening of Washington Schools for 2020-21 Stakeholder Workgroup, the Director of Communications at Student Voice and the Chair of the Washington State Legislative Youth Advisory Council said, “Especially during this time, it’s critical to listen to student voices on how the many changes in education, including remote learning and re-opening schools in the fall, are affecting us. Students have important insight into what parts of remote learning we feel work and what parts don’t and what other issues are arising with our educations during this time. I’m glad that Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has given my fellow students and I the chance to represent our peers during this time and urge other state-level lawmakers to follow their lead in including student voice in all conversations about education.”
As educational systems change rapidly during and beyond this crisis, it’s critical that educators, lawmakers, funders and all those involved in learning work with students to address their concerns and move school forward together. Specifically, Student Voice is calling on decision-makers to:
- Appoint student members to all task forces, workgroups, committees and advisory councils working to shape what learning will look like during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Listen to diverse student voices on their concerns and opinions about the ways their educations have changed — for better or for worse — during COVID-19.
- Work with students as equal partners to design solutions that truly address their educational needs.
To advocate for student voice in conversations about reopening schools, Student Voice will share best practices for engaging students, provide connections to their 50-state student network and offer expertise via phone or video call to interested educators, lawmakers or decision makers. To schedule a conversation, email Merrit Jones, Student Voice’s President, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Move School Forward
As we are inundated with calls for “reopening schools” and returning to normal, it is crucial that we demand a just future for our education system that includes students as full participants in the decision-making process, from the school to state levels. Where people are reimagining the future of schools, the voices of the most marginalized students are consistently sidelined. Our collective of youth-driven organizations has outlined key principles to move school forward. Read our demands.