Education Reform and Meaningful Student Involvement

Spheres of Meaningful Student Involvement (c) 2015 SoundOut.
Learn about the Spheres of Meaningful Student Involvement, illustrating how student voice should be immeshed throughout education reform.


Education reform is any effort determined to change what currently exists in schools. Focused on every aspect of learning, teaching and leadership, school reform has referred to testing, curriculum, management, behavior, attitudes, structures, methods, outcomes, buildings, and most of all, the political motivations of schooling.


What It Is

School reform should be identifiable, deliberate work happening on all levels of schools to transform schools. The phrase “Education reform” is often used as a synonym for School transformation, Building redesign, School improvement and many other terms. However, each of these has their own political and social connotations.

School reform can mean changing the climate of schools, the delivery of curriculum, the assessment of students and any other component of learning, teaching and leadership in schools. It can be a strategic, measured and practical action, or a wide-reaching, ill-defined and ill-logical set of disconnected actions.


What It Does

No single activity is wholly reflective of education reform, and education reform is not a recent phenomenon. Instead, its a complex series of sometimes intertwining, often conflicting and occasionally interconnected practices, beliefs, philosophies and theories that have been practiced throughout the entirety of the education system throughout history.


Where Meaningful Student Involvement Fits

All school reform measures can include opportunities for all students in all grades to become engaged in education through Meaningful Student Involvement. These activities can include system-wide planning, research, teaching, evaluation, decision-making, and advocacy, starting in kindergarten and extending through graduation. This includes a variety of opportunities throughout each students’ individual learning experience as well as those of their peers; within their school building; throughout their districts, and; across their states.

SoundOut promotes education transformation focused on Meaningful Student Involvement; supports student voice in schools; and helps educators understand the power of student engagement.

When its most effective, school reform infuses students into ongoing, sustainable school reform activities through deliberate opportunities for learning, teaching, and leadership throughout the educational system. In individual classrooms this can mean integrating student voice into classroom management practices; giving students opportunities to design, facilitate, and evaluate curriculum; or facilitating student learning about school systems. In the Principal’s office it can mean students’ having equitable opportunities to participate with adults in formal school improvement activities. On the state school board of education it can mean students having full voting rights, and equal representation to adults. Whatever the opportunities are, ultimately it means they are all tied together with the intention of improving schools for all learners all the time.


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