Giving Youth a Voice

Official Department of Education Photo by Joshua Hoover

We can’t improve education if we don’t listen to students, Secretary Duncan often explains when he talks about the need for an ongoing conversation with students, teachers and parents. As part of that ongoing conversation, some of the Secretary’s top advisers met with a group of students from the National Campaign for Quality Education last month to discuss ideas on education reform and how we can increase student achievement throughout the country. The students highlighted their proposed legislation entitled the Youth SUCCESS Act, which calls for a student Bill of Rights, investment in job opportunities, and ending the school-to-prison pipeline.

The youth described how their personal experiences in their communities and classrooms have influenced their education, and they expressed a strong interest in continuing to work with ED to close our country’s achievement gap.

The meeting was the result of a request from a student during ED’s Voices in Action: National Youth Summit at Howard University in February. Following the meeting, hundreds of students from the National Campaign for Quality Education staged a rally on ED’s plaza and marched to the Department of Labor to continue their call for youth investment.

Read about the top five things we learned at the National Youth Summit, and continue the conversation by becoming a fan of ED Youth Voices on Facebook.

Robert Gomez is a Management and Program Analyst at the Department of Education


  1. Yes! The Voices in Action Conference was powerful! Listening to student voices in general is powerful in so many ways…not only does it help us create better schools and opportunities for our students but those students leave feeling important, empowered and it helps them to become their own leaders. I look forward to working with the USDOE and Washington D.C further. Thanks!

  2. I also agree! As adults we understand how important it is for us to have our voice heard; whether it be in our marriage, job, church or government. When others listen to what we have to say it affirms that we matter. I think that our students need to feel this as well. It is our job as educators to make sure that we listen to our students and help them develop a voice!!

  3. I really do agree with this… If our school system is to be improved, we must give kids a voice. Thank you for this article!

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