Giving Compass' Take:

• At the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) conference in Washington, D.C., students spoke about the importance of incorporating their voices into policy decisions.

• How will the addition of student voice lay the groundwork for policy changes? How can donors get involved in supporting student advocacy?

• Read about how increasing student voice encourages independence and collaboration. 

As education policy continues to evolve and policymakers continue to debate what gets implemented, officials are increasingly acknowledging a key piece of the puzzle: students. And that’s not just as the individuals who stand to be affected by a particular policy, but, more importantly, as people who should play a part in creating it.

Across the nation, at least 20 U.S. states and territories have some form of student representation on their state board of education, and at least seven have a student advisory council that provides input on policy decisions. At a city or district level, this number likely totals dozens of places where educators are bringing students to the table in working to improve their experiences at school.

During a Monday morning session at the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) conference in Washington, D.C., panelists and state board representatives — some of whom were students — argued that gaining perspective from those in the classroom is key to paving the way for good policy, laying the groundwork for attendees to make this happen in their states.

The change reflects more attention to creating positive school climate, bridging social-emotional learning and academics, and improving the school experience for students and staff members. Educators are increasingly realizing the power of student input. Involving students in the process — through monthly meetings with the student council, creating a student advisory board, or even hosting roundtable discussions — can make efforts to improve school climate more effective.

Whether it's a district school board, a local education committee or a school-level roundtable discussion with parents and other stakeholders, administrators, in many cases, have the power to get students involved and have both groups learn from each other along the way.

Read the full article about policymaking that lacks student voice by Jessica Campisi at Education Dive.