Youth, Parent and Community Participation

Students, parents and communities have a fundamental right to participate in the running of public schools. Human rights standards recognize that student, parent and community participation is essential for holding school systems accountable when they fail to guarantee the right to education. We work with partners around the country to advocate for students' and parents’ rights to meaningfully impact decision-making in public schools.

Resources on the Right to Participation in Schools

NESRI compiles resources for youth and parents on the DSC website about their human right to participate in school decision-making, including Know Your Rights materials by state, action kits, research, links and information on parent – and youth – led campaigns around the country. 

Also see the report, Civil Society and School Accountability: A Human Rights Approach to Parent and Community Participation, by the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) and the NYU Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP).

Working with ICOPE in New York City Schools

In New York City, NESRI worked with the Independent Commission on Public Education (ICOPE), a volunteer coalition of parents, community members, and education advocates, to support the Education is a Human Right Campaign to create a new system of education in New York City based on human rights.  NESRI worked with ICOPE to support the Youth Researchers For a New Education System (YRNES) project.  YRNES researchers produced a participatory documentation project, interviewing students from New York City public schools about their human rights in education.  Read the YRNES ReportExecutive Summary, Problem Tree Illustration, and Press Release.

For copies of the YRNES Report, requests for a group presentation, or more information on the Education is a Human Right Campaign contact the Independent Commission on Public Education (ICOPE) at (718) 499-3756 or Ellen.Raider[at]gmail.com.

Human Rights Declarations and Treaties

Students, parents and communities have a fundamental human right to participate in the running of public schools, recognized in human rights treaties and global agreements on the right to education.  Human rights standards recognize that student, parent and community participation is essential for holding school systems accountable when they fail to guarantee the right to education. 

Dakar Framework on Education For All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments – The Dakar Framework for Action was adopted by 155 countries at the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal in April, 2000.  It represents a commitment by governments to a shared vision for how education systems should be run, and recognizes the right of parents, communities, students and teachers to participate in decision-making in schools.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) – The United States has signed and ratified this covenant which recognizes the right of all people to participate in government decisions that affect their fundamental human rights, including the right to education. See Article 26, Right to Participate in Government.

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, General Comment 1 on the The Aims of Education – The Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by over 190 countries around the world, recognizes the right of students to participate in school policies, including disciplinary policies. General Comment 1, written by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, elaborates on the aims of the right to education, guaranteed in Article 29 of the Convention.