CCC testified before the New York City Council Committee on Education and Committee on Youth Services on youth civic engagement opportunities on June 13, 2018.
CCC appreciates the measures that Council Members undertake in their districts to provide opportunities for youth civic engagement, including youth voter registration efforts, engaging youth in Participatory Budgeting and local Community Boards, offering internships to high school and college students, and other discreet efforts by members and committees to increase youth input and participation.
CCC would also like to recognize Council Member Levin, who recently announced the creation of a Youth Policy Council. Youth in grades 8-12 will work with Council Member Levin, Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon, and State Senators Brian Kavanagh and Velmanette Montgomery to “review existing City and State legislation and propose ideas that affect the lives of young people and all New Yorkers.” We applaud this effort and look forward to hearing from the youth who are engaged in this process.
We also appreciate the Administration’s commitment to increasing opportunities for young people to engage with policy, practice, and advocacy within their schools and communities:
Department of Education
The Department of Education engages dozens of students citywide through its 7 Borough Student Advisory Councils (BSACs). Each BSAC is made up of student representatives from participating schools in their catchment areas who work with adult DOE staff to identify and address issues that students are experiencing in school. Student and adult leaders from each BSAC engage in ongoing training by CORO New York Leadership Center to gain strategies to bring “greater youth voice to DOE policies and practices that impact student success”. Two of these student leaders are chosen annually to participate as non-voting members of city’s Panel on Education Policy.
Through NYC Service, the Administration began an initiative in 2015 to engage 10% of the city’s high school students in Youth Leadership Councils (YLCs) by the year 2020. Interested students apply online for specific YLCs, which are supported by adult staff at various City agencies and community-based organizations. NYC Service describes the program as a way to “give youth across the city the opportunity to grow as civic leaders and advocates for change in their City”.
CCC is here today to support the expansion of youth civic engagement opportunities and is grateful for the opportunity to share what we have learned through exposing young people to local government and engaging them through public policy research and advocacy.