Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Opinion
Education Opinion

Who Should Chair a Public-School Board?

By Walt Gardner — July 29, 2015 1 min read

It’s impossible to know beforehand who will be an effective leader of a board of education. The qualities that make for success in one district do not necessarily make for success in another. But I think it’s reasonable to demand relevant experience. That’s why I question the choice of a home-schooling mother to head the Texas Board of Education (“A Texas Teaching Moment,” The Wall Street Journal, Jul. 23).

I have great respect for parents who choose to home-school their children and manage to do a good job. But it’s one thing to turn out children who gain admission to even marquee-name colleges from home-schooling and quite another to provide leadership to a public-school district, let alone a state board of education. If that were not true, then all highly effective classroom teachers would be highly effective principals and superintendents. In other words, instructional expertise does not necessarily guarantee administrative effectiveness.

The importance of relevant experience is dismissed by those who claim that running a board of education is no different than running a board of directors. But comparing public schools and public corporations is absurd. For example, the Los Angeles Unified School District is presently searching for a new superintendent (“What LAUSD needs in its next superintendent,” Los Angeles Times, Jul. 23). I wouldn’t be at all surprised that at some time in the process the name of a prominent corporate CEO will be considered behind closed doors. Yet that would be a mistake. Whoever takes the job is quickly going to have to find a way to bring together diverse forces at a time when public schools face unprecedented criticism.

That’s why I question the choice of Donna Bahorich. She is no doubt a superb home-schooling teacher, but what does that have to do with heading the Texas Board of Education?

The opinions expressed in Walt Gardner’s Reality Check are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Human Resources Manager
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools
Elementary Teacher - Scholars Academy
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools
Communications Officer
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Hamilton County Department of Education
Special Education Teacher
Chicago, Illinois
JCFS Chicago

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read