North Carolina Task Force on Student Involvement

The North Carolina State Dept. of Public Instruction Task Force on Student Involvement was a sixteen-member committee appointed by N.C. State Superintendent of Public Instruction A. Craig Phillips for a one-year term of service. Their common goal was to promote positive, constructive student involvement in education throughout North Carolina.


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The Task Force was founded by the State Superintendent to improve race relations between students and educators. After that, their participation was expanded to include most general areas of public education. Members served on curriculum advisory committees and accreditation teams; conducted surveys of student needs; participated in human relations and other in-service training programs; and promoted programs designed to improve the welfare of students.


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The Task Force was headed by a student director, a high school senior and a part-time state employee, all working with a full-time adult director. Student members were:

  • Geographically distributed across the state
  • Reflected different racial, social, economic, and academic backgrounds
  • Acted as a student voice to the State Department of Public Instruction
  • Sought areas where student input would be effective, such as on school accreditation teams, conferences and teacher workshops, and curriculum evaluation committees
  • Visited schools upon request to discuss different aspects of student involvement
  • Listened to students’ and administrators’ ideas
  • Helped students and educators work together to derive solutions to their own problems of apathy and unrest
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Locally, student members were involved in many school and community activities, and the Task Force supported student-oriented and student-run programs across the state.

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The Task Force also acted as a clearinghouse for student ideas on varied subjects, such as ecology, drugs, human relations, and curriculum, and transmits them to administrators, state officials, and other students.

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These activities were all directed toward spurring other students in the state to become constructively involved in their schools and communities.


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The Task Force wrote a number of reports focused on students and educators working together to take responsibility for solving their educational problems. Their findings covered general administrative policies, attitudes and actions of educators; attitudes and actions of students; extracurricular activities, student councils, human relations, and sensitive areas, including student elections for cheerleaders and prom queens, and curriculum.

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Imagining Learning

After spending decades working with young people in education, Charlie Kouns founded Imagining Learning to “…work with individuals and communities to co-create a new education system for all children – a new seed if you will – that sees the healthy, internal world of a child as vital to the future of humanity and the planet.” His powerful project collects the visions of students and shares them across the country.

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Students on School Boards in North Carolina

Students on School Boards Toolbox

Here are facts about roles for students on school boards in North Carolina.

District School Boards

  • In 1972, the North Carolina state department of education reported that they encouraged local school boards to consider roles for students on school boards.
  • Today, students in North Carolina can join district school boards.

State Board of Education

  • Today, students in North Carolina can join the state school board.
  • Most districts select the class president at local high schools to serve as a representative on their district school board.
  • Students cannot vote on the state school board.
  • Most student representatives belong to advisory groups for school boards.
  • There are two student advisors to the North Carolina State Board of Education.
  • Students are selected by the Governor of North Carolina.
  • They are in either the 11th or 12th grade.
  • Students serve a two year term.
  • Students have been serving the state school board since 1986.
  • Law: According to the North Carolina General Statutes 115C-11, the governor of North Carolina is authorized to appoint “two high school students who are enrolled in the public schools of North Carolina as advisors to the State Board of Education.  The student advisors shall participate in State Board deliberations in an advisory capacity only.”
  • One 11thgrade student is appointed to the State Board each year, and serves a two-year term.
  • Students are eligible for appropriate state reimbursement.
  • The Governor of North Carolina accepts all nominations for the student advisory position, though there is no statewide effort to solicit nominees.
  • Generally, guidance counselors and principals contact the Governor’s Office with the names of students they would like to nominate.
  • The students are then required to submit a resume and character reference to the Governor’s Office.
  • The Governor of North Carolina appoints the student advisor to the State Board of Education.

North Carolina School Board Association

  • Students are not formal members of the state school board association
  • They do not receive specific training to support their involvement.
  • An ex-officio student representative has traveled to a state school board association meeting in the past.

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