This special issue of Youth Voice Journal examines recent scholarship tackling core aspects of elevating modern education and empowering young learners and brings together empirical findings across critical facets of education needing attention among today’s shifting realities. The studies contained in this issue provide well-timed data and recommendations to guide policies and teaching methods in line with 21st-century realities. The authors employ focused empirical research across contexts – from preschool to higher education – combined with analysis of past techniques. Findings shed light on improvements ranging from teacher professional development and student evaluation to virtual learning models and nurturing non-cognitive skills. Across diverse methodologies and populations, common threads emerge around building adaptable, supportive educational environments. The studies analyze challenges and opportunities emerging from evolving technologies, social contexts, and educational paradigms. While wide-ranging, the research collectively highlights changes needing proactive responses to better serve youth development. Additional scholarship building on these findings can further inform evidence-based policies and teaching methods.