Amplifying Student Voice to Advance Policy
August 10, 2017

As advocates across the Network work to build a narrative around their policy goals, many are turning to the stakeholders with the most direct connection to their work: students. Because students have a unique vantage point to observe policy challenges and opportunities, advocates are passing the microphone. This not only gives students a platform to explain what it’s like to live out education policy every day, it builds a new generation of advocates.

Here we share a survey of past and present examples where members of the Network have partnered with students to advance or bring awareness to a variety of issues.

“They were really focused on the students who had the grades…For the ones like me, who was considered like a trouble child — it was like we were floating in school. No help.”

Last spring The Education Trust released  “Re-engaged Voices: Formerly Struggling Students Tell Their Stories.” Using students’ words and memories, the narrative describes how struggling students in alternative settings were driven to succeed through academic, social, and emotional support from teachers

Earlier this spring, ConnCAN published reflections from two high schools graduates on their blog, one who graduated as a teenager and the other who received her diploma at 38. The students emphasize the importance of social and academic support as well as the danger of graduating unprepared for postsecondary education or the workforce.

I was surprised to learn that out of 100 high school graduates, six years later, only 49 earned a college degree.”

Last spring, the Foundation for Excellence in Education partnered with a student to convey the power of school choice. This story describes how school choice and a tax-credit scholarship empowered one Florida teenager to find the school that fit her life and aspirations.

And an Indiana teenager partnered with the Institute for Quality Education to explain how school choice prepared her for what’s next after high school graduation.

“Without the continued support from all those in favor of the School Choice Program, I would not be where I am today academically.”

Other groups in the Network are expanding opportunities to both teachers and students. EdAllies recently announced that freshman high school student Hannah Erickson will be part of their EdVoices program, providing a unique perspective on things like gender issues, LGBTQ issues, racial equality, and school equity.

Are you working to incorporate student voice into your work? Let us know.

PIE Network

PIE Network supports and promotes a network of education advocacy organizations working to improve K-12 education in their states so that every student graduates world-ready.

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