Want to Improve Education? Empower the Students.

Participatory Budgeting in Schools from PBP on Vimeo.

What is PB? Instead of government and school officials making every budgetary decision, PB gives real people real power over budget decisions in their schools and communities. “It really is putting your money where your mouth is,” says Christopher Oglesby, former teacher and a school administrator at Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, AZ. “We’re taking taxpayer money that ordinarily the school board would decide how to spend, and we’re empowering our students to decide how that money should be spent on our campuses.”

Schools all across the country have committed to listening to their students, and to acting on their ideas. In Tacoma, WA, 1,500 students from Lincoln High School get to pitch and vote on ideas on how to spend $60,000 to improve their school. In New York, students and families at over 600 schools will decide how to spend more than $1 million, starting with a few dozen schools this year. Several elementary schools and colleges across the CUNY system have already tried this approach.

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