Or, stop JUST listening to students. There’s a growing call coming from schools across the US demanding that educators listen to students. Young people and their adult allies are calling to be heard in classrooms, school board rooms, and and throughout schools as never before. But that’s not the answer.
The issue that many of these advocates are looking for has nothing to do with being heard. They want sustainable, meaningful change that integrates their voices throughout learning, teaching, and leadership in schools. This is different from merely listening to students, and reflects what I’ve been advocating for a decade:
All K-12 schools everywhere need to engage every student all the time throughout the education system.
This is Meaningful Student Involvement, or MSI. MSI calls for systemic, thorough, and effective roles for students in every facet of schools. It infuses the actions, energies, knowledge, ideas, wisdom, and concerns of learners in sustainable, powerful ways that challenge tradition and uplift the democratic purpose of schools.
Young people and adult allies should work together to ensure that students aren’t merely listened to by schools; we need to work together to ensure that students are heard by the entirety of the education system. Please stop settling for second best by learning more about MSI from my work at SoundOut.org. Our schools need nothing less.