Self-Interest of Board Members Undermines District Governance

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To the Editor:

The recent article "Superintendents Wary of Boards, Poll Finds" (Oct. 2, 2013) reports just 2 percent of the nation's superintendents said they strongly agree that America's school systems are effectively governed at the board level. As a veteran educator and educational leader, my personal experiences echo these results. The findings raise the question of why such ineffective governance exists in our nation's schools.

School boards are expected to provide effective governance as the foundation upon which a high-quality education for students is built.

In public service, there is a line which separates the opposing perspectives of service of the community and service of self.Many individuals seek election to the board out of a desire to work with fellow citizens and education professionals to provide outstanding educational opportunities for children. Unfortunately, many do not. They cross the line and seek to exploit their position for personal benefit. Some desire to exploit slightly. Others seek total domination over the school system.

The prevalence of exploitative board members must be understood. A flaw in the governance structure of public education in America must be addressed in order to prevent a high-quality education from being stolen from our children.

Matt Spencer
Senior Consultant
Workplace Bullying in Schools Project
Workplace Bullying Institute
Bellingham, Wash.
The writer is the author of Exploiting Children: School Board Members Who Cross The Line (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2013).

Vol. 33, Issue 09, Page 20

Published in Print: October 23, 2013, as Self-Interest of Board Members Undermines District Governance
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