Editorial: Student Council

In fiction, student council is seen as “serious business” with unparalleled freedom and special privileges.  Their power is so great that no member of the staff will dare reprimand them for their overpowering actions.  Rarely will they be put in place by their peers.

However, this is fiction, and in reality, student council has little power.  They fight hard for a spot on the board only to put it on their transcripts.  All the power lies in the hands of the principal, faculty, and the school district.

Student council in itself is a popularity contest, making those who did not get elected feel cheated out of a spot they truly deserved.  There is no criteria set to justify those qualified for the positions because there are no qualifications.  In order to make student council elections fair and productive, there should be requirements set for those who apply.  They should not be voted into positions by their peers but by the professional hierarchy above students, teachers and faculty.

Student council is viewed as a serious activity in countries like Japan, whereas in many areas in the United States, it is the punch line at every joke.  It is meant to prepare students for the high-pressure work environment they will eventually become part of.  In the United Kingdom, there is a prefect system in place; they would essentially perform the same functions an honors council would at university.

Researchers have found that a majority of student councils had little to no budget to work with.  Student councils can decrease the want of those to later become involved in democracy in life.  It is a popularity contest where the quiet, realistic ones become sidelined.

If student representation in schools is the goal, there are many different ways of achieving it.  For example, join a club, become a team mascot, participate in some form of academic decathlon, contribute something beneficial to both the school and student body.  Schools pay a lip service to the term “student council,” but action would be more appreciated.

The lack of resources and communication drown the possibilities and magnificent ideas of “what could be.”  It is not student council itself that needs to go, it is the disorganization that is synonymous with the club.