Sawchuk, Stephen, Few Student Board Members Can Vote. Should That Change?, Education Week, June 11, 2019.

Snider Comment

The major problem with the SMOB election system in Anne Arundel County is that it has become highly corrupt, as Josie Urrea well knows. The candidate vetting process, via the invisible nominating process, has functioned to give the senior school staff veto power over any candidate. The successful candidates know this and adopt their behavior accordingly.

Several years ago I published an op-ed about the problem in the Washington Post. In response, the senior school staff orchestrated several cosmetic reforms, but they didn’t fix the underlying incentives. A spotlight needs to be focused on the subtle mechanisms by which senior staff can control the SMOB nominating process. Perhaps this could be a subject of a future Education Week article. If other school districts are interested in empowering the student voice via such a democratic institution, they should try to learn from the failures of the past so they won’t be repeated.