The Case for Student Reps. (Update: Education News from Schools, Businesses, Research and Government Agencies)

By Ezarik, Melissa | District Administration, April 2003 | Go to article overview

The Case for Student Reps. (Update: Education News from Schools, Businesses, Research and Government Agencies)


Ezarik, Melissa, District Administration


At 18, Ashley Nathanson is the youngest Anne Arundel (Md.) County Public Schools board member--and one of a growing number of student representatives nationwide. To her surprise, she felt respected from the start of her term in July 2002.

Why shouldn't she? Not only has Anne Arundel had student board members since 1975, but Nathanson has contributed on a number of fronts--from student discipline cases to the superintendent's push for more Advanced Placement classes. A former AP student herself, Nathanson says, "I had a little bit more to bring to the board."

Board President Michael McNelly concurs. Often, as Nathanson summarizes a complex issue, "All of a sudden you'll see lightbulbs go on," McNelly says.

Nathanson is one of relatively few students allowed the chance to serve and vote on boards. According to a spring 2001 survey of 2,000 boards conducted by the National School Boards Association, about 85 percent do not have students serving. Of the nearly 15 percent that do, just 11.5 percent give student members voting privileges. …

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