Why school board elections matter- a high school student’s perspective
At Mesa Ridge High School students are actively encouraged to look beyond the campus for opportunities to be an involved citizen. One way teachers do this is to get students thinking about the implications of elections at the local, state, and federal level. From this discussion, the students wrote an essay that reflected their views on this important subject. So often we adults ask each other, what is best for the students? Now, instead, we are asking the students what they think is best for them.
With the school board elections in mind, students were asked to think about the school board as an institution. They were prompted to think about the role a school board plays. Who are they working for? To what end? Who’s interests should they serve?
Chirstoper Varano teaches 10th and 11th grade English and Speech classes at Mesa Ridge High School. He selected the following essay to represent this class assignment.
By: Terra Vigil
School boards are a big part of the community and help how schools are able to function and run properly. School boards have many responsibilities tied to their job in taking care of our schools and making sure that our students are successful in having a stable school year.
My name is Terra Vigil, and I am a senior at Mesa Ridge High School. A part of the
school board is being accountable for the performance of their schools and how the schools are being run. Now everyone is knowledgeable that not every student’s family has a ton of money to be able to pay for the taxes the school requires. It is the school board that makes sure that every student gets the same opportunities regardless of their wages. As a student in Widefield School District 3, I can tell you that students just like me and parents have things to say from our perspective. School board members are our everyday people, they’re our neighbors, friends, parents, people selected from the community. The superintendent is the chief executive and is responsible for the policies and achieving their goals as a school board. All these people are working to try and make school achievable and easier for the students attending.
During the four years being in high school and even before that, I have seen tremendous changes in the policies and the different rules being made. Our lunch system has changed tremendously, as well as policies on our work and our education period. Being here I tend to see and hear other students claims on the school system, and we all have our dislikes for the things we do not agree with. But with our school, there’s other things to care about more than the little things. We can’t always love every teacher in our classes, but we do need help time-to-time with stuff we do not understand. So far this year I haven’t had any problems with teachers personally, but I have in the past. When a student and teacher do not get along and it has been addressed that they are not compatible, I think it’s up to the school board to allow parents to attend meetings and other gatherings. Our parents, as well as us, should be allowed to attend to meetings so we can understand ourselves what can be done and what should not be done if a problem that is not being taking care of is happening. I personally have had the school not try to do anything about complaints that I had about a teacher that was rude to me when I had asked for help. This process took forever for the school to address the teacher and I do not think that is how it should work. If a student is being bothered by actions a teacher is committing, then something should be done about it in a reasonable amount of time. School is all about us kids getting ready for the world and teachers that are rude or just not good teachers can affect that a lot which can lead to students failing a class. It is up to the school board to help make this less of a problem.
As a student I do look for traits in the school board candidates. I think there should be guidelines and boundaries for them. The traits that I look for in one is that they are a caring person, they take their job seriously, they understand what they are dealing with, and that the person knows how to handle situations that are out of hand. Their first concern is the students and their first priority is to make sure their students are getting the help they need. The school board should care about what the kids are being fed and how they are treated as well. The kids should be well nourished and looked after, if a child wants to eat the regular school lunch, then they should be allowed to. If the child and their parents want the nutrition that is now given to our schools then it will be available also. I think the candidate should be the type of person that always thinks of the kids first and not the money or what the other districts are doing. I think the school board thinks too much about what the other districts are doing, our education is not a competition to where the boards make their decision based off of the other districts. This is based on our education, not competition between districts unless it’s sports related.
As students we don’t and can’t ask for a lot from our school boards, but we want to help them see that this is our education on the line not theirs. We should eat what we want, and drink what we want, we shouldn’t be a competition for which district gives in first for a snow day or not, and most importantly we want to be appreciated that we are working to get to where people are and to where we start our own lives. Working our way to college and our degrees is a lot harder than it was for the people running our schools with our unnecessary tests and more classes to graduate.So we think it shouldn’t be hard for them to try and make it easier on us while we are trying to make it in life and not fail. Students just want people to care about us and how we are doing, not someone who cares about other districts and other things that can’t affect us, we want something to help us not make it harder for us. We already have parents for our food and what we drink, we need help in our schooling and it should only be school that matters, the best for us nobody else. So now that everyone has heard a student’s perspective maybe school boards can look at things a little different.