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Student Board of Education?

New Jersey has instituted a law, A3392, whereby a student representative should be present at every Board of Education meeting. There is a mandate for teachers too, though teachers have a distinct disadvantage at a board meeting. After all, these are the people that could nix them and their jobs for too much dissent. But students don't have that "blip."

In a town nearby me, the students have just petitioned the Board of Education to extend the new law a little further. They would like to create a Board of Students (or a Student Advisory Committee) that meets directly with the Board of Education before every meeting so that student concerns are addressed and heard. There will be four students who represent the board and they will share the concerns of the student body to the Board of Education, presenting and filtering those perceptions and ideas of a majority of students.

This is a fabulous idea, isn't it? This way issues that the board isn't aware of that students in this school are witnessing firsthand can be dealt with. The students on the committee would have different backgrounds and offer varying perspectives. There would be two teacher supervisors and any student who so desires can meet with the student board to voice their concerns. The goal of this committee "is to create a bridge of communication between invested students and the Board of Ed.” I mean the students are the consumers of education, right? They have their pulse on the future, on technology, on what they may need to succeed.

Students should not have to stand at a microphone in front of board members, or administrators, or politicians who are just nodding without really listening. The Board of Ed doesn't have to give credence to all student concerns, but they need a better understanding of what is going on in the schools before they make arbitrary decisions. The student board, or advisory committee would give them that chance. Students need more opportunities to have their voices heard and this is a solid and fair way to get those "in charge" to listen.

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