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I believe it is time for students to take a larger role in addressing the problems facing our region. They need to collaborate and lead on critical education concerns and other related issues. I propose the formation of Regional Student Leadership Council, comprised of student representatives from the St. Louis City Schools, each of the suburban schools, St. Charles and Jefferson County. Listeners may ask “why?” and “why students?”
Students need to be heard. At this time they are not represented in any regional planning. They do not serve on the East-West Gateway Council, Civic Progress,
RCGA or other regional association. Such opportunities may help bring us closer together and give students a stake in their own future.
Students often have a different view on issues such as: achievement, school course work, the expansion of Metro Link, smoking issues, and health care concerns from their families’ perspective. With the formulation of such a council, students may feel greater ownership in our region as they learn more about these issues.
Through this council we, as adults, can take suggestions, bring them to the regional organizations and decide how and if they should be implemented. Some new and innovative ideas will surely emerge. Students would most likely honor school decisions if they have had some input. And they will learn a lot about this region. In an area so fragmented, such a Council may help us work more effectively together.
Regionalism should become part of the deliberative process and I believe we will be better off by listening to those students education depends upon us providing the best possible opportunities.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Susan Uchitelle is a consultant for the Voluntary Interdistrict Coordinating Council.