Saturday, October 13, 2007

Are Student Governments Necessary?

As a current student government president I would argue yes.

Student Government is an organization that allows all students a chance to voice their concerns. How, you may ask do all students get their voices heard if there are only a select amount of representatives in student government? Well it is the responsibility of the class officers, or representatives to reach out to the entire student body and help them. The role of student governments may be different in every school depending on size and structure, but nonetheless the role of a student government is crucial.

Student government in the Academy of American Studies is responsible for planning all school activities such as dances, pep rallies, talent shows, etc. Any activity that involves students is something that student government plans. I believe that student government is like a think tank. We think of creative and innovative ways to make the school a much more effective and welcoming environment. If students enjoy their environment they will be more likely to stay in school and learn. We reach out to students who may have great ideas but may not know how to implement them.

Currently my student government is working on our annual Halloween Costume contest, and Pink Day, which supports Breast Cancer. These small activities keep students motivated. It is necessary for all schools to have a student government because it helps the student feel as if he or she is apart of the school, and not just in it.


Seth said...

SGO does some good things

Louis said...

Let me preface the comments with my guarantee of the utmost respect for your work Ashu and the work of your SGO. That said there were a couple points I felt it important to make.
While I agree with your contention that SGOs are important, their role as displayed seems contrived. You talk about helping the student body and this is indeed imperative but I would say this is not helping them to feel at home but rather to handle the numerous administrative issues that undoubtedly arise. Further, planning activities is fine and dandy, but I personally feel that there are enough issues already in each school: funding, scheduling, structure, etc. that are more crucial and should take an SGO’s focus. Indeed the effectiveness of the school is crucial and should take precedence over its welcoming atmosphere. Though this is entirely imagined, it is not beyond the pale of reality to have a school with glorious activities and no curricular achievements or incommunicative teachers, or the ilk. Creativity is also very nice and pleasant but sometimes all a problem needs is some clout and an avenue to a faculty ear. You contend that if students like their environemnt they will stay in school and learn. While this is true, there needs to be a proper and adjusted system in place, achievable only through communication between student body and administration as handled by a SGO, to educate those children remaining in school due to your efforts. You seem very interested in empowering students to implement ideas but in so neglect reaching out to students who have major problems and have no clue, or worse no power, to fix them. Finally, “It is necessary for all schools to have a student government” not simply for a student’s comfort but because otherwise schools would continue to operate in na├»ve counter-educational fashions.

Ashu said...

Your arguments are valid such as "Though this is entirely imagined, it is not beyond the pale of reality to have a school with glorious activities and no curricular achievements or incommunicative teachers, or the ilk. " But I believe that small steps lead to greater results. So, if we start out by putting a student government in every school, that is inviting, and makes the school inviting, I believe that it could be considered the first step toward many problems. Student governments should be dealing with all aspects of a student’s life, and that includes teachers, staff and administration. The way to solve problems of an incommunicative teacher is to try to solve the root problem (if possible, and this is usually through trial and error). The teacher may not feel comfortable in the school and thus may not be cooperating with students. Using my school as an example we hold many events that get teachers and staff involved. Our student government sends cards thanking teachers, for their hard work and dedication. There can be many reasons, and I am not saying that every problem has a simple solution as the one described above. Once students with the help of their SGO’s feel more comfortable in their respective schools, they would be willing to cooperate with staff and fellow classmates, making the school environment better.

You mentioned the administration, well student government is the link between the administration and students, and so for those students who do not know how to solve certain problems, student government can be the go to point for them. My SGO has a council called “Principals council” which meets once a month and consists of 4 representatives, one from each grade and our principal. Last Friday one of our representatives on the council presented the issue of soaps in the bathrooms, because many students had brought to his attention the lack of soap quality. He brought this concern of the students, who otherwise may have never had their voice heard, to the principal. Monday morning we had new soap in out bathrooms. I understand that the type of soap may not be the first concern of many students in other schools, but this is just an example of how student governments are effective in a school, and how they affect the school environment in a positive way. There are problems with every solution. I am simply advocating for student governments in other schools, because I see first hand the difference it can make in a school. SGO sponsored events pulls together people from all different backgrounds and groups and making the school achieve a more united feeling. With this united feeling, students can feel more safe and welcomed within their schools. Of course all schools are not going to achieve this, because of maybe the ignorance or apathy of some students, but if it helps some students, it would be worth it.
I am a little unclear on what you mean by funding. Funding for the school? And also by scheduling?

I appreciate the feedback, and I believe that you made some very strong and valid points. My views on certain issues may be slightly biased because of my personal experience in an effective student government.