A stakeholder is anyone who is impacted, either directly or indirectly, by what happens within your school.
Stakeholders in education include students, parents, educators, policy-makers, and the business community. Each of these groups has a vested interest in ensuring that our educational system is effective and meets the needs of all learners.
Examples of Stakeholders in Education
Students are perhaps the greatest stakeholders in education because they are the ones who are doing the learning. A good education can provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in life.
But if their teachers fail them, students will have lesser access to educational, cultural, and social capital in adulthood.
Because students are stakeholders in their own education, there is an argument from progressive educators that students should be consulted about what and how they are taught.
Parents have a stake in their children’s education because they want to ensure schools teach the values they want their children to learn about. They do not want their children to learn about things that parents think are harmful or inappropriate.
Parents also arguably have the most interest in their children’s educational success of anyone besides the student because they are ultimately responsible for the child’s upbringing.
In private schools, parents are also the ones who pay directly for their child’s education, which gives them even greater leverage over what is taught to the child.
Teachers are the ones who actually carry out the work of educating students, making them examples of internal stakeholders. They have a great deal of control over what and how students learn in their classrooms.
Teachers also have a vested interest in ensuring that schools are effective because their jobs depend on their success. If parents think their child is not learning, they may withdraw their child from the school and the school will fail.
As an educator, another reason teachers feel they have a big stake in education is that they feel they have the expertise to know what to teach and how it should be taught to their students.
Thus, teachers try to engage closely with other stakeholders (in particular, parents) to come up with the best approaches to educate each child.
4. School Administrators
School administrators include the principal, assistant principals, and other school leaders. They have a great deal of responsibility for ensuring that the school runs smoothly and effectively and that there’s a positive school culture.
They are often people employed for their deep knowledge of education, meaning they’re a respected source of input on how the school can be improved.
However, school administrators are also often the people who need to listen to other stakeholders and gather their input when making strategic decisions so that the schools reflect the values of their communities.
5. Business Community
The business community is an interest group that has a stake in education because they want to ensure that the schools are preparing students for the workforce. They want to make sure that graduates have the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful employees.
The business community also provides many of the resources that schools need, such as funding, books, and supplies. And businesses often partner with schools to provide internship and job opportunities for students.
6. Philanthropists and Charitable Organizations
Philanthropists are people who donate money to organizations, typically charities. In the case of education, philanthropists might donate money to schools, scholarships, or educational programs.
Philanthropists have a stake in education because they want their money to be used effectively to improve the lives of others. They want to ensure that their donations are making a difference in the world and that they are supporting a worthy cause.
7. Local, State and Federal Governments
Local and state governments have a stake in education because they want to ensure that their citizens are educated and prepared for the workforce.
They also want to make sure that schools are preparing students for the future so that they can be successful, contributing members of society.
Federal governments may also have a stake in ensuring students develop citizenship skills and values so that they can be informed and engaged citizens.
8. Government Representatives
Government officials, such as local representatives, members of Congress, and state governors, have a stake in education because they are the elected representatives who set the overall strategic direction of an education system.
They usually run for election with an education platform and, when in office, they have a vested interest in implementing that platform so they can go back to the voters and show results.
Should education systems fail, government representatives may also get the blame. They therefore want to keep a keen eye on the direction in which the education system is headed.
Taxpayers have a stake in education because they are the ones who fund the education system through their taxes.
They want to make sure that their money is being well spent and that the schools are providing a quality education for their children.
In addition, taxpayers may also want to make sure that schools are teaching students the values and skills that they think are important to the nation.
Unions represent the interests of teachers and other education employees. They negotiate salaries, benefits, and working conditions on behalf of their members.
Unions also work to ensure that their members are treated fairly and have a voice in decisions that affect them.
They want to make sure that teachers have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively and that they are not overworked or underpaid. Workers deserve a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, and unions are in place to ensure this happens.
11. Education Policy Makers
Policymakers have a stake in education because they make the laws and regulations that govern schools. They also appropriate the funds that schools need to operate.
Policy-makers want to make sure that schools are effective and efficient so that taxpayers’ money is well spent. They also want to make sure that schools are preparing students for the workforce and for citizenship.
Thus, policy-makers often work with other stakeholders to ensure that schools are meeting the needs of students, parents, businesses, and the community.
Voters have a stake in education because they elect the officials who make the laws and regulations that govern schools.
They also elect the school board members who oversee the schools in their district.
Voters want to make sure that their tax dollars are being spent wisely and that the schools are providing a quality education for all students.
In addition, voters may also want to make sure that schools are teaching students the values and skills that they think are important to the nation.
Universities have a stake in high school education because they want to ensure the high schools appropriately prepare students for university.
If the high schools are not teaching students the skills and knowledge that they need to succeed in university, then universities will have to spend more money on remedial education.
In addition, universities want to make sure that high schools are sending them qualified students so that they can maintain their academic standards.
14. School Board Members
School boards are made up of community members who are elected to oversee the schools in their district. School boards have a legal responsibility to ensure that the schools in their district are providing a quality education for all students.
They also have a financial responsibility to use taxpayer money wisely and to be good stewards of the resources that are given to the schools.
School board members often feel a personal responsibility to ensure that the schools are effective and that they are doing everything they can to help students succeed.
15. The Community
The local community has a stake in education because it is the community that ultimately benefits from having an educated citizenry.
An educated population is more likely to be employed, to earn higher wages, and to be less likely to rely on government assistance.
In addition, an educated population is more likely to be civically engaged and involved in their community. Through a well-educated population, the community can thrive, solve problems of the future, and become more prosperous.
FAQ: What is an Internal vs External Stakeholder?
An internal stakeholder is someone who works within the organization, such as an employee or Board member. An external stakeholder is someone who is not employed by the organization, but still has an interest in its success or failure.
Internal stakeholders are usually more invested in the organization and its success because their livelihoods depend on it. External stakeholders may care about the organization, but their main concern is usually how the organization affects them personally.
For example, a business owner in the community is an example of an external stakeholder. They want the schools to produce graduates that are qualified to work in their business, but they are not employed by the school and may not even directly interact with the school.
A teacher, on the other hand, in the school district is an internal stakeholder. They want the students to succeed, but they also want to keep their job and earn a paycheck.
As you can see, there are many different stakeholders in education. Each one has their own interests and goals. However, they all share a common goal: to ensure that schools are providing a quality education for all.
The main problem arises when stakeholders’ interests clash (such as the taxpayers wanting to lower costs while teachers want to be paid well). In these instances, policymakers need to balance the wishes of all stakeholders to forge a path forward.
By consulting with a wide range of stakeholders, policymakers can make more informed decisions that reflect the wishes of the widest range of community members.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.