A Brief History: ASB in the US

November 14, 2017

Students in the United States were not always given much independence. Before the introduction of public high schools, American colleges were small, strict and religious, limiting students’ freedom to choose activities or have an impact on school culture. The idea of a student government to reflect and lead a school had yet to be born. Traditionally, college institutions were unilaterally run by paid administrators who didn’t have the same perspective as those attending classes. But as college enrollment increased, so did the concept and popularity of student governance. As the country itself got more democratic, so did the education system. The concept of self-governance created a perfect teaching opportunity. It allowed students to personally participate in democracy and understand the structure of government on a more tactile level than ever before. Students quickly became interested in changing school policies and having a more prominent voice in administration. By the 1950’s, it was rare for colleges to not have a student government. As colleges adapted to this new way of thinking, high schools followed suit, leading to the current forms of student government. The way these governments are set up, however, vary distinctly and reflect the cultural values in and surrounding the school.

 

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