As election year debates reach a fever pitch over issues ranging from education to the future of democracy itself, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is giving students a voice in the democratic process to influence the decisions that affect them most. The move comes at a time when politicians rarely engage students themselves. Only 11% of students report their opinion is represented “a great deal” at the federal level.

To help students make their voices heard nationwide, NASSP is establishing the National Student Council, an assembly of student leaders from across the country to serve as powerful advocates for their peers at the federal level. NASSP’s National Association of Student Councils (NASC), formerly known as NatStuCo, will administer the National Student Council.

“It’s incredibly rare for policymakers to ask my classmates and me for our opinions,” said Shreeya Gogia, an NASC member and senior at Carroll Senior High School in Southlake, TX. “NASC’s National Student Council will finally give students like me a seat at the table so we have a say in the decisions that will have the biggest impact on our schools and futures.”

“As school leaders, we know students’ experiences and perspectives are critical to building an excellent and equitable education system,” said Ronn Nozoe, CEO of NASSP. “The National Student Council is a powerful platform that will empower students to play a meaningful role in the democratic process and cultivate the next generation of civic leaders.”

Elections and appointments to the National Student Council will take place from March to September, after which the representatives will identify the most pressing challenges facing students and then advocate for solutions. In addition to the National Student Council, NASSP is changing the name, NatStuCo, to the National Association of Student Councils (NASC) and will give away $100,000 in new scholarships to NASC members each year. For more information, visit NASC’s website.