A study examining the structure and governance of high school student councils found such government associations at private schools tend to have the most active memberships, with broad functions and high levels of faculty engagement and oversight.
Elite public schools’ councils also had high engagement, but little faculty oversight, according to the report, and schools with predominantly minority or poor populations tended to lack student councils or had ones that only performed social functions.
The study, published last month in the journal Teachers College Record, was conducted by Stanford University researchers Daniel A. McFarland and Carlos Starmanns. The authors based their findings on survey responses from 362 high schools, interviews with student council sponsors, and reviews of student government constitutions.
A version of this article appeared in the February 11, 2009 edition of Education Week