After researching and writing about Meaningful Student Involvement in the early 2000s, I went about conducting a series of projects across Washington, New York, Colorado, and in Florida. More than 10,000 students and adults in 100 K-12 schools have participated in SoundOut activities. I rested on those laurels for a while, believing that I was influencing change from the stories and outcomes I heard in many places.
The activities get too comfortable, the reports look too familiar, and the participants act too similarly. The danger in stagnate student voice is that it becomes predictable and easy for adults. When this stagnation happens, it’s neither authentic student voice or effective student engagement. This is true because of the nature of young people in our society: They constantly change. Because of the varying dynamics of their realities, schools must always change, too. That requires deliberately engaging students as active, dynamic partners throughout their educations, which shows the necessity of Meaningful Student Involvement.
Stop the stagnation!