Education | Evolving

Education|Evolving in St. Paul, Minnesota has been both listening to what students—young people—are saying and opening up new opportunities for them to speak in the education-policy discussion.

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Students on School Boards in Minnesota

Students on School Boards Toolbox

The following are facts about students on school boards in Minnesota.

District School Boards

  • In 1972, the Minnesota state department of education reported that they did not encourage local school boards to consider roles for students on school boards.
  • Today, students can join district school boards but cannot vote.
  • In 1972, the Edina-Morningside School District had a Student Board of Education. It was partially elected and partially student council-appointed, and met before the meetings of the regular adult school board to present student concerns to their elders through the superintendent.

State Board of Education

  • Minnesota does not have a state board of education.

Minnesota School Board Association

  • They are not formal members of the state school board association
  • They do not receive specific training to support their involvement.
  • Students can participate in the state school board association’s normal board training.
  • Student representatives are also scheduled to speak at a workshop/breakout session to adult school board members at their annual convention.

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Minnesota Youth Advisory Council

The Minnesota Youth Advisory Council (MYAC) existed from 1999 until approximately 2004. Run by the State Commissioner of Children, Families, & Learning, the state agency that oversees public education in Minnesota, MYAC served as a national model.

The Youth Advisory Council was composed of 15 public high school students.  According to Department literature from the time, MYAC the “will act as an incubator for new ideas, where youth-generated ideas and solutions to problems can be brought to policy makers.”

MYAC met on a monthly basis with the Commissioner or department staff.  The then-Commissioner of Children, Families, & Learning, Dr. Christine Jax, voluntarily sought this student input, and there was no legislation in Minnesota mandating student input.  Students were eligible for appropriate state reimbursement.

Each year, a letter and application packet was mailed and e-mailed to all local superintendents, as well as high school counselors and social studies teachers.  The department also targeted various school staff likely to encourage students to apply.  T

he application requireed a letter of introduction and two letters of recommendation.  Staff within the Department of Children, Families, & Learning narrowed the applicants to about 20 finalists, ensuring there was equal regional representation.

Ultimately, department staff selected the student members, who served for up to two years on the council.

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