It is not enough to simply listen 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.
Meaningful student involvement is the process of engaging students as partners in every facet of school change for the purpose strengthening their commitment to education, community & democracy.
Any honest conversation about engaging young people must address discrimination against young people.
Young people and adults need equitable relationships-they do not need equal ones.
The pattern of discrimination that allows this discrimination was set in the founding of the United States.
Young people often serve as scapegoats for the challenges communities face. At the same time, they are routinely pushed away from connecting to their communities as serious problem-solvers capable of changing the world.
The outcome of this culture of discrimination is that young people are routinely denied the roles in society they can, should, and need to be occupying.
For every young person living on the streets tonight, there are many at home zoning out inside their homes through video games, and even more who disengage from school. These are direct effects of internalized discrimination based on their age.
Dropping out of school is the ultimately caused by discrimination against young people in schools.
Most of society's decision making for young people happens without young people, and that could not happen without adultcentrism.
Adultism leads to a phenomenon of little adults, who are young people who are treated as adults-in-the-making. A non-discriminatory perspective would be to treat children and youth as whole and complete people right now.
Adultism is not always harmful-but it is always real.
Like a pet fish unaware of the fishbowl it lives in, each of us inherently discriminates against young people without knowing it.
It's really seeing student involvement … as a variety of opportunities that are appropriate for each given student and responsive to their individual needs and their desires for their educational experience.
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