If you ask any student at any school if their class elections are based on merit or popularity, I guarantee that the majority will say their elections are a mere popularity contest. Class leaders and representatives are elected on the basis of popularity rather than leadership ability or merit, and more often than not, this results in an inept student government incapable of fulfilling even the simplest of tasks. Moreover, this way of electing leaders means that the intelligent and capable leaders are unable to use their skills because they never have the opportunity, and due to the way class leaders are elected, the same inadequate leaders are elected each year, where they remain out of touch and unchanged. This problem demands the attention of not only the students subject to this dreadful rule, but also the administration who continue to allow unqualified leaders to be elected. To solve this problem, I propose government reforms which choose leaders based on merit and skill rather than popularity.
These reforms will change the way class leaders and representatives are elected by abolishing elections. Instead, potential leaders will be observed throughout the year by their teachers and advisors who will then meet and decide whether to send a recommendation to the administration. The administration will then, through the potential leaders’ advisors, send an application to be completed and submitted, again through the potentials’ advisors. The fact that the recommendation and application must go through the potential leaders’ advisor is so that the administration remains impartial to the students, especially their legacy or socio-economic status. If the administration, which shall be a separate administration with the sole purpose of selecting student leaders, knows anything about a potential leader, that potential will be removed from the list of potential leaders so that bias in the administration cannot affect the selection. After the application is submitted to the administration, the administration will review the application and advance the most qualified applications to the next stage.
The next stage will be when the administration meets, for the first time, the potential leaders and conducts a formal interview, and later an informal interview. In these interviews, the administration will ask personality, leadership, and goals for the future related questions such as what is the potential’s Myers-Briggs personality type (this test is to be mandatory as part of the observation stage), what leadership experience or opportunities the potential student has participated in in the past, and what he or she hopes to do in the future. Following these interviews, the administration will meet and discuss the potential leaders’ recommendation, academic performance, application, and interviews. Sub-par potentials will be eliminated, and the remaining few will undergo more observation, unbeknownst to the potentials. If six students excel in all areas, they will again meet with the administration for formal training in their assigned position as ambassadors.
Throughout the following year, in which the selected six students are ambassadors, the observation of potential leaders will continue along with observation of the current ambassadors. However, the selection administration is to change each year, with three other selection teams waiting to be rotated in. This way, no bias will find itself in the leader selection process. In the event that fewer than six leaders are selected, there will be no student leaders that year, and the responsibility of leading the class will fall to assigned class advisors. These advisors will already be in control of the class activities and special events, but they will be required to report to the selected class ambassadors, who act as liaisons between the class and the advisors; should there be no ambassadors, the advisors will not be required to communicate with the class.
While these reforms may seem too expensive for schools or Big Brother-esque, I assure you that they are the only way to avoid serious elections becoming popularity contests. These reforms make it impossible for students to win a position based on the number of friends they have, how much money their families have, or how many generations of their families have been at the school because these reforms will choose ambassadors based on merit and ability to lead. Other reforms, such as a simple application for a position or an interview with the person or people holding the desired position, are not enough to prevent popularity or other biases from interfering with the election, and while I would love to see the day these reforms will be implemented in schools, I am saddened to say that due to my status as high school junior, these reforms would take effect the year after I graduate high school, so I will not have the chance to see these reforms in action.