Rationale for Students on School Boards

What difference can it make if students are on school boards?

There are a lot of reasons to have students on school boards. Research shows that some of them include:

  • Academic Achievement. Meaningfully involving students on school boards can ensure student engagement, which raises academic achievement.
  • Respect. Students have valid opinions, knowledge, ideas, and experiences that school boards can benefit from.
  • Authenticity. Having students on school boards can help ensure that adults know what is actually happening in schools right now.
  • Justice. “Anything about us without us is not for us.” Schools can put democracy into action with students on school boards.
  • Real LearningEngaging students on school boards may be one of the most powerful ways to teach students about democracy in society.
  • Better TeachingStudent involvement throughout the leadership process of schools can show teachers school boards are committed to teaching and the sustainability of school.
  • Effective School ImprovementEngaging students on school boards can significantly improve the effectiveness of school improvement measures in school.
  • Youth DevelopmentStudents can become more effective learners when they are engaged on school boards, and in processes of decision-making affecting them throughout their lives.
  • School Culture.The attitudes, policies, and structures of schools may change when students are on school boards.
  • Embracing DiversityEmbracing a diversity of perspectives can make student voice the most significant tool in the school leadership toolbox.
  • The “Bottom Line”.Students on school boards can help schools save money while meeting the rigorous demands facing public education systems.
  • IntegrityEducators and school leaders have an ethical responsibility to engage students as partners throughout education, particularly in the decision-making that affects them every single day.
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MAYBE the most important factor to engaging students on school boards is that it just feels right. Voters, teachers, administrators, parents, board members, businesspeople, higher education… Each of these has a stake in school board decision-making. Students have a major stake, too, and it is time to acknowledge it.

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