Illinois State Board of Education Student Advisory Council

The Illinois State Board of Education Student Advisory Council, or ISBE SAC, is a group of 16 high school students from across the state to bring student concerns to the attention of the State Board of Education. The ISBE SAC was established in 1975.

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The ISBE SAC is meant to be a diverse group of students from across the state who have demonstrated a strong work ethic, the ability to think creatively and work well in groups. Membership is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors attending a public high school in Illinois.

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The SAC members represent student concerns and can provide thoughts on ISBE’s existing and proposed programs, policies and regulations. The student members also choose a special project to research and present before the State Board of Education at the end of the school year.

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Chicago Youth United

Chicago Youth United was a coalition of youth organizations in Chicago, Illinois, started in the 1990s. It worked to change school policies and fight for resources for students across the city.

School security, dropout rates, school funding, school closures and racism in education were top concerns.

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Cross City Campaign for Urban School Reform

The Cross City Campaign for Urban School Reform was a national network of school reformers based in Chicago, Illinois. They supported efforts to create high-quality schools that ensure educational success for all urban young people, including student organizing and meaningful student involvement.

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Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools

Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools,or CSOSOS, is a student-led group organizing to make sure that all people have an equal access to quality public education by organizing the youth of Chicago.

CSOSOS’s work includes:

  • Fighting for an elected school board in CPS
  • Investment in the success of neighborhood schools, including putting back our TIF money into our schools, no more school closings, and no more charter expansions
  • No more high stakes testing

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Voices of Youth in Chicago Education

Voices of Youth in Chicago Education, or VOYCE, is a youth organizing collaborative for education and racial justice led by students of color from community organizations across the city of Chicago. VOYCE works to increase Chicago’s graduation rate by using youth-driven research and organizing to advance district-level policies that support student achievement.

VOYCE’s work is driven by the belief that young people who are most directly affected by educational inequity are in the best position to develop meaningful, long-lasting solutions. To lay the foundation for VOYCE’s campaign, more than a hundred youth conducted an in-depth, year-long Participatory Action Research study on the root causes of the city’s 50% graduation rate. The students found that to increase graduation rates, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) must build a foundation for student success through district- and school-level policies and practices that foster trusting and supportive relationships with peers and school staff.

Today, VOYCE’s organizing focuses on three priority areas:

  • Ending the use of harsh discipline policies that push students out of school and into prisons
  • Implementing the use of restorative discipline practices
  • Limiting the use of high-stakes testing and creating high-quality learning environments


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