Center for Youth Voice in Practice and Policy @ WKCD

“One thing I always told myself was that I don’t have to be the tail.  I got to be the head. I know that education is power.””

                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Seattle, WA high school junior




Since 2001, WKCD (What Kids Can Do) and its nonprofit publishing arm, Next Generation Press, have used digital, print, and broadcast media to spread two messages: what youth can accomplish when given the opportunities and supports they need, and what they can contribute when we take their ideas and voices seriously.

We are proud of the ways we, and colleagues across the country, have elevated youth voice. We are chastened by how tough it proves to hear and act on what 

young people have to say, especially on issues where their experience makes them experts.

The Center for Youth Voice in Policy and Practice—a virtual center—provides a fresh new platform for young people as knowledge creators and policy advocates. Using well-honed research and documentation strategies, the work we feature here digs into issues that matter to youth: good schools, college access and success, technology, discrimination, equality, negative youth stereotyping, programs and mentors that help youth spread their wings, and more. The youth that concern us most are marginalized by poverty, race, and language, ages 12 to 22.

Some of the work is our own—projects in which WKCD has recruited and engaged student researchers nationwide. Some is from a close collaboration with the Public Science Project at CUNY Graduate Center in New York City, a leader in what is called “participatory action research” with youth. And some of the youth investigations we share here come from colleagues in the field. We extend a standing invitation to send us news and products from youth action research projects you think we should feature.

When young people ask hard questions and pair them with sound investigation, youth advocates of all ages would do well to listen, debate—and act. Just as we count on the next generation, they count on us.

High schools fall short on college support, student researchers find

PROVIDENCE, RI—Students do not get the college-going help they need from schools until far too late in the game, according to an extraordinary new report by a research team of 25 diverse high school students from Washington state and Tennessee.

Instead, parents and guardians largely step into the gap, according to their study, Hear Us Out, which was released today by the Center for Youth Voice in Policy and Practice at What Kids Can Do, Inc., a nonprofit based in Providence, RI.

Three-quarters of the respondents named their families as the chief source of college motivation and support, even when their parents and guardians had not attended college themselves.

In contrast, almost a third said they had never spoken with a school counselor about college. Although that percentage dropped to 12 percent by twelfth grade, 28 percent of seniors said they had completed their college application mostly on their own.


FEATURED INVESTIGATIONS (click on link to view full report, media, and other materials)

Hear Us Out: Students Talk About Going to College from the Center for Youth Voice in Policy and Practice @ WKCD (December 2010)

Polling for Justice: Young New Yorkers Probe the Problems of “Dispossession” from the Public Science Project @ CUNY Graduate Center, New York, NY (June 2010)
Bringing Chicago Public Schools into the 21st Century: Students’ Ideas on How to Use 21st Century Technology to Improve the Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships in High School from the Mikva Challenge Education Council, Chicago, IL (Summer 2010)
Best Practices in Summer Learning Programs: A Y-Press Report by Y-Press, Indianapolis, IN (October 2010)
Download full news releaseHome_files/PressRelease,HearUsOut_Final.pdf

“ I want to call each and every one of you out who have a chair in the meetings that are supposed to make a difference in our schools, and society.

I want to call all of you out who make calls to action but not actions we can call on. . .

Ah, If I could just share with you how much my generation has in store. . .” - Yasmine Blanding, youth researcher, Public Science Project (Echoes of Brown)

Download commentaryHome_files/A%20Joint%20Production_BCervone.pdf