The Student Member of the Board choices need to be more diverse
The achievement gap, bring your own device policies, the quality of school lunches and who has the best stickers are just some of the issues middle and high school students across Montgomery County consider as they log into their computers to cast their votes. They are voting for who will represent them when it comes to important school board decisions: the Student Member of the Board of Education, or SMOB. Unfortunately, for many students it is difficult to relate to either of their options.
Although Montgomery County has an array of students from different backgrounds, the majority of the SMOB candidates all come from the same one. There needs to be more diversity among SMOB candidates to have different and more diverse issues raised and to better represent the county's array of different people.
Of the 39 past SMOBs only 12 of them have come from downcounty or Northeast Consortium (NEC) schools, including two from Blair. Most of the SMOBs come from upcounty schools, which are known to be more affluent, such as Bethesda Chevy-Chase (BCC) and Richard Montgomery. These schools are vastly different from schools in the Downcounty Consortium such as Kennedy, Einstein and Blair. Compare BCC , where current SMOB Eric Guerci attends, and Kennedy High School , whose last (and only) SMOB came in 2000. BCC has a graduation rate of over 95 percent while Kennedy's is slightly less than 80 percent.
There are also significant financial differences when it comes to location, at BCC the amount of students who have ever been on Free and Reduced Meals (FARMS) is 20.9 percent,
, another upcounty school it is less than 5 percent however in downcounty schools that number is significantly higher, at Kennedy it is 79.2 percent and even at
it is 55 percent.
With most of Blair's population, and over half of MCPS's, being minorities and the SMOB continuously being of the upcounty, white, male type, the views of these groups and the issues that these groups face can be overlooked. Without having someone, time after time, who can truly reflect and represent a vast number of MCPS students and the issues they face in school, we the students are essentially left voiceless. Here at Blair we pride ourselves on having diversity and on the different perspectives and experiences it brings to the table. The office of SMOB should be able to do this as well.
Lauren Frost. Hi, My name is Lauren Frost and I am a junior at Blair. I play basketball and tennis. Other than sports I enjoy reading and watching movies. More »