Capital Article

Huang, Cindy, Lawmakers propose giving students power to pick school board members, January 25, 2017.

Snider Comment

“Bryan Simonaire said appointed members are important because they help create diversity, which can be lacking in a fully elected panel.”

No, the tendency toward diversity has nothing per se to do with an elected school board; it has only to do with the type of elected system.  Most of the world, including some U.S. school districts, uses proportional representation specifically to deal with the diversity problem.  With ranked choice voting, for example, one is likely to get more real diversity than with either first-past-the-post voting (what is being called an “elected” school board) or an appointed board.


“On Wednesday, Simonaire amended the legislation to add a student to the appointment commission. The Chesapeake Regional Association of Student Councils, or CRASC, a student leadership group, has been calling for this change in the past week.”

Enhancing the voice of the students can be a good thing, but only if ethical safeguards for CRASC are enhanced and CRASC’s governance structures reformed to better match its mission. As I understand it, the current legislation doesn’t fix this egregious problem. If students are given adult like responsibilities, there also needs to be in place adult like ethical safeguards, including compliance with the Open Meetings Act and penalties for patronage by AACPS staff.