Youth Leaders to Join Secretary Duncan, Administration Officials, Policymakers for U.S. Education Department's First-Ever National Youth Summit

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Youth Leaders to Join Secretary Duncan, Administration Officials, Policymakers for U.S. Education Department's First-Ever National Youth Summit

February 22, 2011

Students from high schools and middle schools across the country will travel to Washington this weekend to join administration officials and education policy leaders for the U.S. Department of Education's “Voices in Action: National Youth Summit,”taking place at Howard University on Saturday, Feb. 26. The summit will convene nearly 400 students, administration officials and education policy leaders in workshops and breakout sessions to identify what schools and communities need to best prepare students for college and career.

President Obama has set a national goal to once again lead the world in college completion by 2020. Over the next decade, more than half of new jobs will require more than a high school degree. The Obama administration’s education agenda has made significant investments in K-12 reform and increased college access to better prepare our students to graduate high school, complete college and compete in the knowledge-based, global economy.

“When students go on to college or career, they’re competing with students in China, India and all over the world,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “In order to best prepare students, we need to know that we’re making every effort to meet their needs in achieving a world-class education. The National Youth Summit brings together students who have taken responsibility for their education, acted as leaders in their schools and communities, and who can provide the best insight and feedback on what they need to be successful in the future.”

From July to November, the U.S. Department of Education convened a National Youth Listening Tour to discuss our work directly with students and learn more about how we can support education reform in states, districts, schools, and communities. Throughout the tour, the Department met with over 40 youth-serving institutions and connected with more than 1,800 middle and high school youth in 13 cities. The tour engaged students 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.

Voices in Action: National Youth Summit offers participating youth the opportunity to communicate to policymakers key themes raised during the tour and provides them the chance to learn more about the Department’s efforts to improve America’s schools. The summit is organized around the tour’s five most common themes: effective teaching, college information gaps, parental involvement, community mentors and school climate and discipline.

The daylong event will also include workshops as well as music and entertainment from participating youth and youth organizations. Adobe Youth Voices, a global initiative of the Adobe Foundation that empowers youth through technology and media, will kick-off the summit with a student-produced song, entitled “2020 Vision,” that shows what communities, families and schools can do to help youth be more successful in school. Additional entertainment includes a poetry slam by Guerilla Arts Ink Entertainment along with performances by DJ Priest and Asheru.

An agenda and other resources on the Voices in Action: National Youth Summit are available at Media interested in attending should contact Kerry-Ann Hamilton at

A list of participating organizations follows.


Abbott Leadership Institute
Academy for Educational Development
Adobe Youth Voices
Afterschool Partnership
Alexandria Public Schools
Alliance for Educational Justice
American Institutes for Research
Atlantic Philanthropies
Baltimore Urban Debate League
Benjamin Stoddert Middle School
Boston-area Youth Organizing Project
Boy Scouts of America
Californians for Justice
Camp Fire USA
Chicago Public Schools- Kenwood Academy High School
Children’s Defense Fund
Children’s Integrated Services
City of Rockford
City of Rockford-Human Services Department
Clay County Schools
Coalition for Asian American Children and Families
Coleman Advocates for Youth
Communities in Schools of the Nation's Capital
Community Coalition
Community Learning Exchange
Department of Defense
Department of Defense Education Activity
Department of Education
Desis Rising and Moving Up
Elev8 Baltimore
Elev8 Chicago
Elev8 New Mexico
Elev8 Oakland
Envoy Project
Essential Employment Skills for Youth
Families together in New York State
Florida Crown Workforce Board/ RAMP
Forum for Youth Investment
Forward Montana
Friendship Collegiate Academy
Future of Tomorrow
Girl Scouts of the USA
Girl Scouts of the USA; Troop 51027
Hawaiinuiakea School of Knowledge
Heritage High School
Higher Achievement
Howard University
InnerCity Struggle
Llano Grande Center
Make the Road New York
Maryland 4-H
MIGIZI Communications Inc.
Mikva Challenge Education Council
Mikva Challenge Teen Health Council
Mothers on the Move
NAACP Jamaica Youth Council
National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
National Association of State Boards of Education
National Council of La Raza
National Council of Negro Women
National Parent Teacher Association
National Urban League
Newark Youth Connection
Newark Youth Court
Newton North High School
Padres y Jovenes Unidos
Peckham RAMP Program
Philadelphia Student Union
Project VOYCE- Voices Of Youth Changing Education
Public Interest Projects (Elev8)
Rafael Hernandez School
Rock the Vote
Sasha Bruce Youthwork
Save the Children
Sistas and Brothas United
Southeast Asian Student Coalition
St. Hope Leadership Academy
Sunflower Community Action
Technology Student Association
Texas State Conference of NAACP Units
The Arc
The Baltimore Student Attendance Campaign
The Woodlawn Organization
United Way of Southeastern MI
Urban League of Rochester
Verizon Foundation
VOYCE –Brighton Park Neighborhood Council
VOYCE-Kenwood Oakland Community Organization
WA State Legislature Youth Advisory Council
Warren J Brown Foundation
Young People’s Project
Young People’s Project, Los Angeles
Young People’s Project, Massachusetts
Young People’s Project, Mississippi
Youth Together
Youth United for Change
YouthBuild USA