A Voice for Change: Dayja Burton, Student Representative

By Dayja Burton, SY2019–20 Student Representative

At first, I had no idea what the role of Student Representative of the D.C. State Board of Education (SBOE) would entail or that it even existed. But, after my teachers at McKinley Technology High School introduced me to the opportunity, I knew this would align with my personality and life goals.

My name is Dayja Burton and I am a senior at McKinley Technology High School. My school focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (S.T.E.M.) and I participate in the information technology (I.T.) department with a concentration in networking/cybersecurity. This program provides me with a hands-on education and opportunities that will help me in college and later in my career. Outside of the classroom, I am a member of the flag football team and the editor-in-chief of the YMCA Youth and Government program. My involvement with various organizations correlates to something that is important to me.

During 2019, there have been so many issues occurring within my community and our world. I do not want to sit back while things unfold—instead, I want to be a voice for change. As a student representative of SBOE, I hope to be a part of decisions and discussions that will make the education system better for those behind me. This world should not be about doing things for personal gain—this world should be about making life better for all those to come. If society wasn’t so greedy and selfish, earth would be such an amazing place. I am going to take my role as a student representative seriously. My decisions will have the interest of the students above all else.

The District’s public school system represents an education system that has negatives and positives—just as any system in this country. It is important to note that there is an education disparity. The schools I have attended have often had higher standards than the neighboring schools. I want all schools to be able to have equitable standards so that every child in the District has the same chances. If I had attended different schools, I do not think I would be as prepared as I am now.

The District’s public school system needs to work on: (1) having balanced funding across all zip codes, (2) enforced fundamentals in elementary school, and (3) integrated curriculum that is diverse while also reflecting the real world. Often times students feel like what they are learning is pointless and has no real connection to the outside world. Indeed, some students lack adequate exposure due to the inequities that exist within our public school system.

By the end of my time as a student representative of SBOE, I hope to have created and sparked valuable conversations that lead to a better public education system for all.


Published by DC State Board of Education

The DC State Board of Education is the District's elected voice on educational issues and advocates for a world-class education for D.C. students.

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