Jason Wu Campaigns for Position as Maryland State SMOB

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Courtesy of Jason Wu

Junior Jason Wu speaks about his Maryland SMOB campaign.

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Divisional Liaison for MASC and Special issues Director for the county SGA, Class President his freshman year, and many more esteemed positions have been held by state student member of the board (SMOB) candidate and junior Jason Wu. On February 8th, he was nominated by a group of students to be a finalist for the position along with incumbent SMOB and Towson High School junior Noureen Badwi. State Governor Larry Hogan will decide between the two for the position before the new term begins on July 1st. 

To make it as far as Wu has takes a strong resume and lots of hard work. In addition to the positions mentioned before, he has also testified for improving the infrastructure of our schools, lobbied at the Maryland General Assembly for mental health resources, served on the Maryland High School Graduation task force, attended board meetings, and spoke with multiple board members and the state superintendent.

Wu said “I’m running for SMOB because I believe in the crucial role youth have in advancing the state of our education in Maryland. Students must work to ensure that our education system works for every student and that our schools provide a world-class education which prepares us for life beyond high school.”

Wu has many ideas he would like to implement if he is chosen to be state SMOB. On his website, jasonforsmob.com, he orders them under the categories of mental health, opportunity gap, energizing the student voice, school safety, and technology. One goal Wu has fought for since the beginning of his student government career in 6th grade is cell phone rights for middle schoolers at lunch. He believes middle schoolers should have the same access to phones as both tools for entertainment and education as their high school peers.

Another big plan of Wu’s is to create a “SMOB student coalition” comprised of students from each of Maryland’s 24 counties. This group would have the power to vote on issue-related matters, and help give students a larger voice in our education. This group would have monthly meetings to discuss policies and issues.

The positions of state SMOB and county SMOB carry many of the same responsibilities but, as evidenced by the names, on different levels. The state SMOB has the responsibility to work with every county SMOB to advocate for all the state’s students on the state board of education.

 Despite this, the nomination process for the two positions is very different. Schools can nominate candidates for the position for state SMOB, and the field of candidates is then narrowed to five by the MASC selection committee. Next, the MASC general assembly of students votes on two finalists, before finally the governor has the final say between the two finalists. Every county has their own way of selecting their SMOB, but in Montgomery County, anyone can apply for the position, before the field is narrowed to two at the MCR nomination convention, followed by voting from every student in the county.

The other main difference between the two positions lies in voting rights. The state SMOB only gets partial voting rights, whereas the Montgomery County SMOB has full voting rights. However these rights, similarly to the nomination process, vary from county to county.