Do Local School Boards Still Make Sense?

What is the best way to organize decision-making in relation to schools and school districts? Does our system of local school boards work well?

Most countries do not have school boards. Decisions are made at the national and local levels by educators.

In our country decisions about schools are made by elected boards of taxpayers who do not necessarily have expertise with education.

In my opinion people who make key decisions about schools should know a lot about what it takes to educate children well. Their minds should be focused on student learning.

Our system seems to allow attention to veer from the question of how best to educate students. Entire evenings of meeting time pass with no discussion about children and learning.

Well-meaning taxpayers do their best in our current system to oversee good school systems. However what qualifies them to make decisions that will decide the future of our citizens?

We count on superintendents to help the boards to make the best decisions. What if the superintendent can not effectively perform this role?

I think we need a different way of running our school districts. I think they should be run primarily by educators. Teachers and principals should figure out how best to help the students in their schools learn.

Schools should start by being allocated equal amounts of funding per pupil by the state government. Administrators and teachers should be paid the same in all schools.  Schools with high percentages of children living in poverty should be given extra money to provide intensive services.  With these conditions in place, would we need a school board?



Kathreen Harrison

About Kathreen Harrison

Kathreen Harrison is a public school teacher in Maine. She has a master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College. She has worked in a variety of schools in New York and Maine in a number of capacities – French teacher, gifted and talented teacher, elementary school teacher, and curriculum coordinator for island schools. She has lived in Maine for 20 years and has a particular interest in school reform.