Things need to change for ASB to be called student government

The Associated Student Body (ASB) elections are a magical time of year, with students debating the problems they face and who would do the best job representing them. Oh wait, that is not how it works. What should be a testament to the democratic process has been twisted and morphed into a popularity contest. ASB has lost its purpose: what was meant to be a representation of the student body has become putting up posters and planning rallies that only half the school goes to. However, this problem is not ASB’s fault, but rather the fault of the system it is in; a system in which the power a student can have is speaking with the principal once a week and planning the next dance. Currently, ASB holds an important job, as someone will always have to plan dances and put up posters but we do not need to elect people to do that, and the jobs that might require elected representatives like overseeing clubs are overshadowed and forgotten about. The reason we have elections in America is to make sure that the people’s voice gets heard, but if that is not happening in schools why should there be elections at all.

In government, there is some aspect of transparency, while not everyone knows how bills become laws and the political process. Everyone knows or has access to information about what our government does. However, in student government, it’s all behind the scenes and very few people outside of ASB actually know the jobs that they do. This is why it gets such a bad reputation because the only thing people see ASB officers and appointees doing is putting up posters and hosting rallies.

“Many people see ASB in a collective way, and it’s all one type of person doing the same thing,” sophomore class president Alex Chang said. “There are different committees in ASB that do different things, for example, of course, there’s a rally planning committee but there are also different committees that address important issues for example a charity committee that works with groups outside the school. And I think that ASB could do a better job illustrating jobs like this, however one area I think has done particularly well is our Instagram. Where we’ve had many spirit weeks, pack leaders, and showcases about important issues, like our breaking barriers showcase.”

Chang once again makes the point that ASB has more important jobs, however, the students do not hear about it so it continues to paint ASB as a do-nothing class. This is a huge problem with the ASB system, people should get to see what goes on. For example, the majority of the student body does not know about the charity committee and does not have a say in who is on it as people are assigned within the class itself. This is an important job that people need to know about but instead, it is kept in the dark, which not only hurts ASB’s reputation but it also keeps students out of the decision-making process. Another and arguably more important position is School Site Council or SIP. Those elected to this position meet with members of the school board once a month to discuss the school and its views for it. Yet, even with this extremely important job, very few people know about the position and even fewer know what it does. This translates into the elections as last year there was no competition for the position at all and the candidates gave 3-word speeches. And even though those in the position meet with board members to discuss the school, there is no requirement for actually getting student input. Again this is due to the fact that not that many students know about the position. There needs to be more transparency in ASB not only so that students appreciate it more, but also so the student body can have more say on the decisions ASB makes.

Besides transparency, the other major problem with ASB and the system it is in is the lack of representation of the student body in the administration. Now, obviously, the student body can not have too much say in what the administration does because that is not how school works. However, the administration needs a better way of communicating with the wants and needs of the student body. Especially in a time of increased stress and pressure on everyone and when students are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work that teachers are assigning, the administration’s best way of getting student input is sending an email to parents without any insurance that students are being asked. This should be ASB’s job, because what the point of electing people if they are not actually representing the students.

“This is an area that I think ASB could also improve on,” Chang said. “I think that students should have more say in what actually goes on, and I try to reach out to students and others in the class as well but I think it needs to be integrated much more into the class.”

It should be integrated into the class more, people we elected need to have some say in what goes on at school or at the very least they need to make sure that the administration hears about our problems and takes action to fix them. This would not be hard to implement, but it would seriously affect students’ everyday lives. ASB also needs to make a system where students can effectively communicate with them so that ASB can communicate with the administration. Whether this is done through committee, a new position, or monthly meetings it must get done. If not then ASB can’t be called student government in any sense of the word.