Mat-Su School Board Eliminates Student Representative

June 7, 2024

The Mat-Su school board decision, reported in the ADN, to eliminate its long standing student representative position is a sad development at a time when we need more youth engaging in decisions being made about the future of the state, including, most of all, their education.

It’s the wrong direction – we need more youth engagement, not less. That means positions with significance and time to build the knowledge and skills of the position – just like any adult in a similar position.

Imagine adults in school board positions being asked to rotate because there are so many community members to represent.

Moving to a rotating position dilutes the engagement and diminishes the significance of the participation. It is too bad if the input is inconvenient or challenges other views. It’s not the first time a school board, assembly, or legislature has some unique voices that challenge the status quo.

Alaska can do better. We must to be better.


Picture credit – “Students wear protest shirts and carry signs as former Mat-Su school board student representative Ben Kolendo listens to testimony at a board meeting in Palmer on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023. The board limited the representative’s power at the meeting. (Bill Roth / ADN)”




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