School & District Management

Leadership Opportunities

By Joetta L. Sack — October 04, 2005 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Students are more likely than ever to serve as members of state and local school boards. But are their voices really heard?

A new survey suggests that, in fact, they are.

According to last week’s release of a report based on the survey, adult colleagues greatly value the opinions of the students who sit on those boards. The results were compiled by the Alexandria, Va.-based National Association of State Boards of Education, which is calling for a more prominent role for students.

The report, “Student Leadership in Education,” can be purchased for $10 by calling (800) 220-5183.

According to NASBE, 12 state boards, the District of Columbia, and dozens of local school boards have at least one student member or adviser, though not all of the student members are allowed to vote. Several other states and districts are considering adding student members, the report adds.

“It is ironic that in a majority of states and localities, an 18-year-old high school senior may vote on the members who serve on their local boards of education and vote on bond issues that fund education, but cannot have their views considered at the board table on policies that affect the one institution that most directly impacts their day-to-day lives,” Brenda L. Welburn, NASBE’s executive director, wrote in a memo announcing the report.

The study also found that adult school board members who served with students reacted much more favorably to the presence of students than did adults who did not serve with youth representatives. The vast majority of students who had served on the boards ranked their experiences as very beneficial to their academic careers.

NASBE recommends a system in which a board would have two student members serving staggered two-year terms, each beginning in junior year. The idea is to have a junior who is learning the ropes and an experienced senior who knows the issues and board policies. The group does not take a position on whether students should vote or how boards should select student members.

One of the biggest weaknesses on state-level boards with student members, the survey found, was that the students did not have enough communication with a range of their student peers in all parts of their states. NASBE recommends that state boards find ways to help student members interact with other students, and says all school boards need to help ensure all students have access to leadership opportunities, including membership on the boards.

A version of this article appeared in the October 05, 2005 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Divisive Politics Are Harming Schools, District Leaders Say
A new survey reveals how tough the politics are for some leaders, especially in the suburbs.
8 min read
Illustration of tug of war.
Illustration by Laura Baker/Education Week, SvetaZi, and iStock/Getty
School & District Management Leading a City School District Is Tough. A New Program Aims to Ease the Way
Its creators hope to drive down big-city superintendent turnover by preparing candidates for the stresses of leadership.
3 min read
Woman standing on a paper boat with a tsunami wave approaching.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management 5 Tips for Switching From Snow Days to Remote Classes
Two district leaders say communication, flexibility, and adaptability are key to success.
4 min read
Close up of hands holding a smartphone and working at a laptop near a window showing a snowy day
iStock/Getty
School & District Management Will Schools Actually Ditch Snow Days for Virtual Learning? The Outlook Is Still Cloudy
More districts are substituting some remote learning, but snow days are still an option in many places.
5 min read
Buses parked covered with snow
iStock/Getty