New Mexico’s high school students spend a lot of time at school. Approximately 140 hours per month, not counting extracurricular activities.
How this time is structured, financed and spent is decided by a governing school board, which the students have no say in electing. Ironically, schools are probably the most undemocratic institutions in American life.
But in New Mexico, we can change that. By allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in school board elections we can ensure that students have a say in their education, while simultaneously providing opportunities for them to be active and engaged citizens.
In our democracy today, young people turn 18 and are expected to suddenly participate in democracy, despite having little to no experience in making decisions about the public structures that affect them the most.