‘Giving Students a Voice in Their Education’
My Kick | Zak Malamed
My kick is to give students a voice in directing their educational experience. That is why, as a senior in high school, I founded Student Voice. Two years later, I am a sophomore at the University of Maryland, College Park and I realize the importance of student voice more than ever before.
When research shows that 44% of students on average do not believe that their voice matters in decisions influencing their education, and when this dips to as low as 34% in 12th grade, we have a problem.
We have an even bigger problem when we examine the connection between a lack of student belief in their voice mattering and increasing dropout rates, decreasing achievement rates, and inadequate workforce readiness.
This is rooted in psychology with what is known as the self-fulfilling prophecy. This is when one's prediction directly or indirectly causes that belief to become true. Students need to believe that their voice matters in order to succeed.
We need to showcase where students have a voice and how its making a difference. We need to support the integration of practices and a culture that embraces this philosophy. It is rooted in research and perspective.
I am from Long Island, New York. Who am I to tell my friends in Oakland, California how they should be educated? Who is anyone from outside of their community to do so? Students must be respected stakeholders if we are to transform education. That starts with having a voice.