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Office of Standards and Instruction

89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234


District Superintendents
Superintendents of Schools
Public School Administrators
Dr. Santosha Oliver
Chapter 357 of the Laws of 2023 Relating to Student Governments
May 2, 2024

On September 7, 2023, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law Chapter 357 of the Laws of 2023, which added a new section 817 to the Education Law relating to student governments. 

Effective September 1, 2024, every school district serving high school students grades 9-12 with no districtwide or school building peer-selected student government is required to establish at least one student government organization within such district or school building.

The purpose of Chapter 357 is to ensure that all eligible high school students across the state have the opportunity to participate in student government organizations that enhance civic engagement and leadership preparedness. 

Ensuring that all students are civic ready is a chief aim of social studies education.  The New York State Learning Standards for Social Studies and New York State K-12 Social Studies Framework serve as a consistent set of expectations for what students should learn and be able to do, so that every student in New York State is prepared to be an active and engaged citizen who is ready to pursue college, a career, and/or service.

Civic-ready students use civic knowledge, skills, and mindsets to make decisions and take actions for themselves, their communities, and public good as members of a culturally diverse, democratic society.  Schools, therefore, should provide students with meaningful, authentic opportunities to develop civic knowledge, skills, and mindsets.

In addition to the new law requiring high school student government programs, high school administrators should be aware of the following programs promoting civic education:

  • The New York State Seal of Civic Readiness builds on the long-standing foundation of civic education in New York.  The Seal of Civic Readiness is a formal recognition that a student has attained a high level of proficiency in terms of civic knowledge, civic skills, civic mindset, and civic experiences.  The Seal may be used as a +1 Pathway and/or as a replacement for a second Social Studies Regents exam to fulfill graduation requirements.  To earn the Seal of Civic Readiness, students must complete all the requirements for a local or Regents diploma and earn a total of six points from the options outlined on the Seal of Civic Readiness Criteria Chart, with at least two points in Civic Knowledge and at least two points in Civic Participation.  Participation in student government could be used by students to earn .5 points[1] towards the Seal of Civic Readiness if such participation meets the requirements for an extracurricular experience (i.e., minimum of 40 hours and completion of an essay/presentation/product). School districts must apply for approval to NYSED to offer the Seal of Civic Readiness and develop customized plans that allow students to select personally meaningful experiences to earn the Seal.  Additional information can be found in The New York State Seal of Civic Readiness Handbook.  
  • Each year, the  William Randolph Hearst Foundation in cooperation with the United States Senate and the education department of all the states, including NYSED, sponsors the United States Senate Youth Program. Two New York student leaders are selected to participate in a week-long government leadership program in Washington, DC. The students engage in a series of seminars and briefings with Senators and members of the House of Representatives and meet with officials of the executive and judicial branches of government.  To be eligible, students must hold a high-level leadership position in a student government, civic or educational organizations during the entire academic year academic preceding the application.

Additional information about the new law may be referenced in the attached Chapter 357 of the Laws of 2023 Frequently Asked Questions. Information to support schools with instruction around civic education, can be found on the Office of Standards and Instruction’s Civic Readiness Initiative webpage.  Questions regarding this memorandum and/or civics education may be directed to the Office of Standards and Instruction at or 518-474-5922.


Chapter 357 of the Laws of 2023 Requiring Student Governments Frequently Asked Questions


[1] Students may receive these points more than once (e.g., .5 points for each year of participation in student government at the high school level).

PDF Version of Memo and FAQ

Chapter 357 of the Laws of 2023 Relating to Student Governments