The Governance Lab announces Council of 20: a first-of-its-kind program for students, by students

The ReinventED Student Council taps a diverse pool of students from around the country to collaborate on education policymaking.

Text reads Reinvent Ed, your education, your voice, placed against a chalkboard background.

BROOKLYN, New York, Tuesday, February 2, 2021 – The Governance Lab (The GovLab) at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering is announcing the creation of the “ReinventED Student Council,” an organizing committee of students advising on, designing, and running the “ReinventED: Your Education, Your Voice” program. The four-phase program aims to use technology to engage students, caregivers and educators in conversation about the purpose of education in a time of crisis. 

After a competitive process that asked students to share in writing and via video skills and experiences education ought to provide, and what central challenges the education system faces, the GovLab selected a diverse group of 20 students ages 14-21 from universities, public and private schools in 20 cities and 13 states. 

Participant responses echo many concerns among students about education in the time of COVID. They said things such as, schools need to: 

  • Provide stronger social and psychological support to students
  • Bring civics back to education and teach students the value of their participation
  • Offer opportunities to learn about racial justice and cultural shifts
  • Navigate the shift to remote learning imposed by the COVID-19 virus
  • Teach real-world skills like financial literacy training (to address soaring student debt)
  • Teach intellectual curiosity and social consciousness, and foster in students a passion for lifelong learning; 
  • Make the educational environment safer for exploration and mistakes.

“The notion that students, their families, and educators — those who are most acutely affected by changes in education policy — deserve to play a role in making said policies is surprisingly often overlooked,” said Beth Simone Noveck, director of The GovLab, professor in the department of technology, culture and society and member of the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) at NYU Tandon. “We believe that engaging the groups of people whom these policies influence every day is one of the most effective ways to ensure they are being formed properly and to the right ends.”

Keeping in mind that too often education policymaking fails to give voice to the needs of students and families' needs and ignores systemic inequalities, the ReinventED Student Council will work with The GovLab to lead three large-scale, online public engagements in 2021. Throughout the program, members of the student council will convene online for one hour twice a month after school, collaborating with The GovLab team to:

  1. Offer feedback on design of each of the citizen engagement initiatives.
  2. Provide advice and feedback on content to ensure that materials are engaging and clear.
  3. Present results to leaders in philanthropy, government and education.

You can learn more about each engagement/phase by visiting, where you can also sign up for updates regarding the program. ReinventED is brought to you by the Governance Lab with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


About The Governance Lab at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering

The Governance Lab's mission is to improve people's lives by changing the way we govern. Our goal at The GovLab is to strengthen the ability of institutions — including but not limited to governments — and people to work more openly, collaboratively, effectively, and legitimately to make better decisions and solve public problems. We believe that increased availability and use of data, new ways to leverage the capacity, intelligence, and expertise of people in the problem-solving process, combined with new advances in technology and science, can transform governance. We approach each challenge and opportunity in an interdisciplinary, collaborative way, irrespective of the problem, sector, geography, and level of government. For more information, visit

About the New York University Tandon School of Engineering

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, the founding date for both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute. A January 2014 merger created a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences as part of a global university, with close connections to engineering programs at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. NYU Tandon is rooted in a vibrant tradition of entrepreneurship, intellectual curiosity, and innovative solutions to humanity’s most pressing global challenges. Research at Tandon focuses on vital intersections between communications/IT, cybersecurity, and data science/AI/robotics systems and tools and critical areas of society that they influence, including emerging media, health, sustainability, and urban living. We believe diversity is integral to excellence, and are creating a vibrant, inclusive, and equitable environment for all of our students, faculty and staff. For more information, visit