The Prichard Committee Student Voice Team will discuss their new book, Ready or Not: Stories From the Students Behind the Statistics, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 18 in the Taylor Education Building Auditorium. The event, which is free and open to the public, is in partnership with the University of Kentucky College of Education Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation.
Told from the vantage point of those who are experiencing the postsecondary transition firsthand, the team’s book delves into issues surrounding the transition from high school to college. It lifts the voices they collected from young people throughout the Commonwealth who describe the reality of navigating life after high school. Themes include the limits of the ACT as a college-readiness test, rural and urban cultural pulls, the impact of parent and teacher support, Kentucky’s school counseling crisis, and college affordability. The work is meant to challenge families, educators, and policymakers to consider college readiness from the vantage point of those who are experiencing postsecondary transitions firsthand and, in the words of the young authors, to “balance the head and the heart” in education decision-making.
The Prichard Committee Student Voice Team supports students as research, advocacy, and policy partners in the nonprofit Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence’s broader efforts to mobilize citizens to improve Kentucky schools. The team was conceived and launched by a small group of high school students in 2012 and now consists of more than 100 self-selected Kentucky youth from middle school through college.
The team came to national prominence in 2015 when they advocated for the inclusion of students on superintendent screening committees and again in 2016 when their Powerball Promise Campaign led to the restoration of scholarship money from the state lottery for more than 8,000 low-income students.
The team derives significant success from working at the grassroots level, too. In addition to creating and facilitating the Student Voice Forum, an independent blog elevating student feedback on the education system, they have researched and disseminated three seminal policy reports about inequities inherent in the college admissions process; student voice in school governance bodies; and student perceptions of school climate.
The Student Voice Team has published more than 50 op-eds, presented more than 60 times locally and nationally, and has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly, Hechinger Report, and on the Rachel Maddow Show.