The Ethics of Meaningful Student Involvement

“It is not enough to simply listening to student voice. Educators have an ethical imperative to do something with students, and that is why meaningful student involvement is vital to school improvement.”

When I originally wrote that statement,
I was thinking about the ethical drive many teachers and administrators have to do their work. I was considering the motivations that may not be present in their brains all day, and wondering how my lessons intersect with their motivations.

ALL teachers have ethical imperatives by nature of their profession. Almost 2,500 years ago Plato taught that, “Education is teaching our children to desire the right things.” Being a teacher in a democratic society compels teachers to teach democracy as an action as well as being a topic. This is what makes it an ethical imperative.

In democracy, we use the rule of law to enforce ethics and morals. There are movements to put meaningful student involvement into law in a variety of ways.

In turn, schools as a whole have ethical imperatives, as do education officials and politicians. Voters elect politicians on the basis of their ability to represent their best interest, and as my work shows, Meaningful Student Involvement is in the best interest of anyone committed to expanding democracy in our world.

The reality of the ages shows that democracy is an expanding phenomenon that is constantly learned and explored, critiqued and expanded. My work is in response to that reality. So rather than “taking actions against” anyone, I seek to learn, explore, critique, and expand schools. The functions of personal, social, and structural transformation are the levers I work and advocate others to work as well. Its through those levers that we’ll go furthest.

What do you think are the reasons why educators should care about Meaningful Student Involvement?

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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