In working towards President Obama’s goal of ensuring that America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020, the Administration is now engaging our country’s youth directly in a number of ways on education issues. By conducting this type of outreach, the voice of young people is being brought to the table as we discuss comprehensive solutions that translate to educational success.

The Department of Education first laid the groundwork for youth engagement with its Youth Listening Tour in 2010, which engaged students from 13 different cities in discussions on the challenges they face and asked them to present possible solutions to help communities, families, and schools reach the President’s 2020 goal. More recently, the Department of Education hosted the Voices in Action: National Youth Summit. Last month, nearly 400 students from high schools and middle schools across the country traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the National Youth Summit—an opportunity to join administration officials and education policy leaders in identifying what schools and communities must do to best prepare students for college and careers.

In order to continue meaningful engagement with young people, last week the White House announced the creation of in 100 roundtables for young Americans from all walks of life. First Focus applauds the efforts of President Obama and his staff for utilizing several mediums (tours, summits, the web, social media, and now roundtables) in order to connect our youth to the discussion that pertains to their success. With the White House making serious efforts to seek the input of youth on policy decisions, we believe that now is the time to finally establish a National Youth Council, as highlighted by Thaddeus Ferber in First Focus’s publication entitled Big Ideas: Game-Changers For Children.

Take Action: Host a Round Table in Your Community!
Consider hosting roundtable in your community. Invite someone from the Obama Administration to participate by letting them know when and where your roundtable will take place. Submit your information at The Administration will be participating in 100 youth roundtables between now and May 31st. Be sure to submit your event request as soon as possible.