Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Local Governance is Next Frontier in Education Reform

A close look at and reform of local school governance must be the next frontier in education reform.

More specifically, I refer to school boards.

These boards have been around for years, usually populated by local citizens. Their major purpose has been to oversee school administration. Most have an overarching range of authority granted by state legislatures.

However, it is becoming more clear that education requires more than a part-time investment by a body that usually does not possess the breadth of talent and experience required to manage complex organizations and issues.

We are no longer just talking about school lunch menus, uniforms, or local holidays etc..

The current state of public education in America has become critically important to our ability to lift individual standards of living, and to our competitive position on a global basis.

We must now rethink the entire structure of governance. Are school boards even the right model for the 21st century?

What kind of qualifications and experiences should form the minimums required to serve? Should this be an elective or appointive body? Should it have some minimal paid full time positions? Term limits? Who evaluates the performance of the school board? What sanctions are available for non-performance?

It is clear local communities must step up its appreciation for school governance overall and begin to engage in a serious debate about needed changes.

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