July 9, 2020

Education Justice Collective Responds to the President’s Comments About Reopening Schools

When considering how to reopen schools this fall, no decisions can be made about students without students.


Without considering the safety, personal and local concerns expressed by students, families and individual schools, districts and states, the Trump administration has suggested that they will use funding to pressure all schools to reopen in person this fall. Their demand ignores the unprecedented health and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic on students, is incredibly shortsighted considering looming cuts to school funding and is clearly motivated by self-interest to diminish the growing severity of the coronavirus pandemic before the November 2020 presidential election.


The president and other education leaders must listen to the voices and concerns of students and make decisions that are in their best interests. Giving all students and families, especially those most vulnerable to the negative social and economic effects of COVID-19, a voice to express what supports they need to learn during this time and beyond is essential to ensure that when we reopen, our schools move forward to be more effective and equitable than ever before.


All stories written about reopening schools must include perspectives from students. By including student quotes and stories in conversations about opening schools, reporters can better capture the true effect of policies and statements like Trump’s on the stakeholders for whom education matters. To be connected to our network of students across the country and speak to them to learn their stories during COVID-19, contact Student Voice’s Director of Communications, Jenna Yuan, at jenna@stuvoice.org.


About Move School Forward:

As we are inundated with calls for “reopening schools” and returning to normal, it is crucial that we demand a just future for our education system that includes students as full participants in the decision-making process, from the school to state levels. Where people are reimagining the future of schools, the voices of the most marginalized students are consistently sidelined. The Education Justice Collective, including Student Voice, Our Turn, The Prichard Committee Student Voice Team, UrbEd Advocates, Youth Activism Project, Students for Equitable Public Schools, GenUp, Students for Education Equity, Teens Take Charge, Young Organizers United, HISD Student Congress, Oregon Student Voice and IowaSLI has outlined key principles to move school forward.

The Kentucky Student Voice Team is an independent, youth-led, statewide organization that supports students as research, policy, and advocacy partners to ensure Kentucky’s education system is as equitable, just, and as excellent as it can be. Until 2021, it was part of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, an independent, nonpartisan, citizen-led organization working to improve education in Kentucky—early childhood through postsecondary.