Los Angeles: Council of Youth Research

Promoting College Access & Civic Education

Learn more about UCLA and the Los Angeles Unified School District’s approach to examining educational conditions in the city below!

Overview and Goals

The Council of Youth Research is a partnership between UCLA and Los Angeles high school students and teachers. Graduate students and faculty members from the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies (GSEIS) guide the Council by providing students with tools and opportunities to research school and community issues that directly affect them. Council members are current Los Angeles public high school students who combine their personal life experiences with graduate-level research techniques to examine central questions impacting the lives of young people. The youth researchers have worked closely with LAUSD administrators and community leaders and have reported their findings to officials and the broader public through PowerPoint presentations, documentary films, and social media outreach since 1999.

Outcomes and Impacts

  • Promotes a powerful college access model in which youth are mentored by GSEIS graduate students, faculty, and TEP pre-service teachers to improve their literacy skills and successfully navigate the college application process.
  • Over 95% of Council students pursue post-secondary education after high school graduation. Some of the schools they have attended include: UCLA, USC, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, San Francisco State University, Cal State Northridge, Sacramento State University, Humboldt State University, Mt. St. Mary’s University, and Wellesley University.
  • Promotes a powerful model of civic education in which youth learn about the rules and functions of government and acquire tools of investigation and public engagement that will be useful in future academic and civic endeavors.
  • Contributes valuable insights and information to public debate in Los Angeles through students’ first-hand experience in schools and communities, as well as their uncensored access to other youth voices.

Learn More

You can read any of the following selected publications written by GSEIS alumni about the Council:

  • Mirra, N., Garcia, A., & Morrell, E. (2015). Doing youth participatory action research: Transforming inquiry with researchers, educators, and youth. New York: Routledge.
  • Garcia, A., Mirra, N., Morrell, E., Martinez, A., & Scorza, D. (2015). The Council of Youth Research: Critical literacy and civic agency in the digital age. Reading &Writing Quarterly (31)2, 151-167.
  • Bertrand, M. (2014). Reciprocal dialogue between educational decision-makers and Students of Color: Opportunities and obstacles. Educational Administration Quarterly, 50(5), 812-843.
  • Garcia, A. & Morrell, E. (Eds.). (2013). City Youth and the Pedagogy of Participatory Media [Special issue]. Learning, Media and Technology, 38(2), 123-127.
  • Bautista, M., Bertrand, M., Morrell, E., Scorza, D., & Matthews, C. (2013). Participatory Action Research and City Youth: Methodological Insights from the Council of Youth Research. Teachers College Record. 115(10).
  • Mirra, N., Morrell, E., Cain, E., Scorza, D. & Ford, A. (2013). Educating for a critical democracy: Civic participation re-imagined in the Council of Youth Research. Democracy and Education 21(1), Article 3.
  • Scorza, D., Mirra, N., & Morrell, E. (2013). It should just be education: Critical pedagogy normalized as academic excellence. International Journal of Critical Pedagogy 4(2), 15-34.
  • Garcia, A. (2012). Inform, Perform, Transform: Modeling In-School Youth Participatory Action Research Through Gameplay. Knowledge Quest. (41)1.
  • Mirra, N. & Morrell, E. (2011). Teachers as civic agents: Toward a critical democratic theory of urban teacher development. Journal of Teacher Education, 62(4), 408-420.

You can also check out media coverage on the Council here:

  • UCLA Today:
  • New American Media
You can also read more about the Council of Youth Research and the YPAR traditions to which it belongs in the forthcoming book, Doing Youth Participatory Action Research: Transforming Inquiry with Researchers, Educators, and Students