While citizens polled by the Gallup organization continued in 1984 to rank discipline, drugs, and standards as their top worries about schools, school-board members across the country have worries that reflect their managerial responsibilities for school systems, a survey by the journal of the National School Boards Association has found.
A majority of those polled--62.6 percent--ranked "lack of financial support" as one of their top three concerns; 39.8 percent cited declining enrollment, and 32.9 percent cited parents' lack of interest.
Other concerns ranked among the top three by smaller proportions of school-board members included: finding good teachers, 21.7 percent; poor curriculum/standards, 18.7 percent; teachers' lack of interest, 16.3 percent; drugs, 15.7 percent; discipline, 9.8 percent; disrespect for students/teachers, 9.1 percent; pupils' lack of interest, 8.6 percent; overcrowding, 7.3 percent; busing/integration, 2.5 percent; and crime/vandalism, 1.6 percent.
The survey found the typical school-board member to be between 41 and 50 years old, earning between $30,000 and $40,000 annually, and a 4-to-7-year veteran of his board. The proportion of female board members increased by 1.2 percent last year, the survey found, to 38.3 percent of all board members. But women are more than proportionately represented in committee work, constituting about 45 percent of some board subgroups.
The number of minority board members grew nationwide by 2.5 percent to 9 percent last year, but minority representation shrank in the South, where the typical board last year was 87.8 percent white--up from 79.7 percent the year before.
The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, which characteristically seeks solutions to educational problems by creating networks of people interested in sharing ideas and working out cooperative strategies, would like its members to take up "networking" among themselves. The ascd will put up $1,000 in support for groups of 15 or more members who set up their own networks to study mutual concerns. For more information, write Diane Berreth, ascd, 225 North Washington St., Alexandria, Va. 22314.
Meanwhile, to house all the activity generated by what he says is a membership nearing 60,000, Executive Director Gordon Cawelti reports that the association is well along in the construction of a $2.25-million new headquarters in Alexandria. The nsba recently completed a new headquarters on a nearby site, and the elementary principals' group has one under way.
An ad hoc local citizens' group concerned about support for the arts in the Pittsburgh Public Schools has launched a new organization, the Pittsburgh Fund for Arts Education, to raise funds and promote community support for arts activities in the schools. Kicked off at a recent gala, the new group's agenda has the support of the board of education and the business community.--mm