HARRISBURG- The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced that Students for Education in Pennsylvania (SEPA), a group created by student representatives of the state Board of Education, is seeking dedicated, passionate high school students to help elevate student voices across the Commonwealth.
“It is so important that, as we consider policies that affect over one million students in Pennsylvania, we listen to students themselves,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid N. Mumin. “To ensure a high-quality education for every student, we need the collaboration and feedback of those who are actually in the classroom learning. I encourage any interested students in the Commonwealth to lend their time — and their voice — to Students for Education in Pennsylvania.”
SEPA was created out of a shared passion for a broader and more diverse student representative network. As a complement to PDE’s mission, SEPA aims to establish an ongoing relationship with dedicated students throughout the commonwealth to more effectively represent student voices in Pennsylvania’s educational policymaking.
To accomplish their mission, student representatives to the Pennsylvania Board of Education, Senior Student Member Claire Chi and Junior Student Member Aarushi Dedhiya, asked stakeholders across the commonwealth to nominate two to three dedicated, passionate high school students to contribute their unique voice to the Pennsylvania Student Representative Program, which comprises geographically based groups that will meet on a regular basis to discuss education and student life.
“It is so crucial to have young voices heard and uplifted throughout the Commonwealth, and the Department of Education’s dedication to those efforts is inspiring,” said Executive Director of Governor Shapiro’s Advisory Commission for Next Generation Engagement Ruby Mundok. “Students for Education in Pennsylvania (SEPA) will ensure that student’s thoughts and concerns are taken into consideration when it comes to making decisions about their education. The Commission on Next Generation Engagement looks forward to supporting SEPA in their efforts to give Pennsylvania’s youth a seat at the table.”
Each year in the spring, the Pennsylvania Board of Education, in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils (PASC), selects one rising high school junior to serve a two-year term as a student representative to the State Board. The primary responsibility of the student representative position is to provide student perspectives at board meetings. Historically, student representatives have met with small groups of student stakeholders, however, the current student representatives are looking to expand and elevate student voices further.
Student representation on the state Board of Education is made possible through a grant provided by Highmark, supporting opportunity for students in Pennsylvania to have a direct voice in helping to shape education policy.