Opinion
School & District Management Letter to the Editor

N.Y. Association Defends Role of Elected School Boards

September 23, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

In a recent Commentary, Chester E. Finn Jr. states that local control of schools needs to be reinvented. That’s shorthand for saying school boards have outlived their usefulness and need to be replaced with something else. The New York State School Boards Association couldn’t disagree more.

A democratically elected board of education with decisionmaking authority, working in cooperation with community leaders and parents, provides stronger leadership than any of the models Mr. Finn identifies, such as mayoral control. Here are a few reasons why:

• Children need a strong and independent champion. School board elections minimize the specter of undue political influence, patronage, or reduction of education’s standing in a broad range of municipal fiscal priorities.

• School board elections encourage individuals throughout the community with diverse backgrounds and experiences to seek office. Candidates with opposing viewpoints promote extensive public discussion and give voters a clear choice.

• Local school boards make decisions about the nature and scope of student programs that represent local community interests. They are the local link between a community and its school system, responsible for assuring parents and taxpayers that they are being represented when decisions are made.

The National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education found that there is no consensus among researchers about whether mayoral-controlled school districts improve student achievement.

Mayors have found it easier to clean up district-level finances and change management practices than improve student achievement. School boards appointed by mayors—rather than those elected by a community—shift from conduits for public information and can become political operations that are elite, homogeneous, and distant. As a result, the forum for representing a community’s interest in its public education system is often lost.

Timothy G. Kremer

Executive Director

New York State School Boards Association

Latham, N.Y.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the September 24, 2014 edition of Education Week as N.Y. Association Defends Role Of Elected School Boards

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
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
Teaching Live Online Discussion Seat at the Table: How Can We Help Students Feel Connected to School?
Get strategies for your struggles with student engagement. Bring questions for our expert panel. Help students recover the joy of learning.
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
Science Webinar
Real-World Problem Solving: How Invention Education Drives Student Learning
Hear from student inventors and K-12 teachers about how invention education enhances learning, opens minds, and preps students for the future.
Content provided by The Lemelson Foundation

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management School Districts Showcase What's Working to Improve Student Learning
School leaders from 13 districts shared strategies at a national summit by AASA, the School Superintendents Association.
3 min read
David Schuler, superintendent of High School District 214 near Chicago, Ill., speaks about college and career readiness during a presentation at AASA's first annual Learning 2025 Summit on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, in Washington, D.C. High School District 214 is one of 13 "lighthouse" districts that were recognized for innovative work to improve school systems.
David Schuler, superintendent of High School District 214 near Chicago, speaks about college and career readiness at a summit in Washington.
Libby Stanford/Education Week
School & District Management Schools Prefer Cheaper Ventilation Options to Curb COVID: Why They Should Consider Upgrading
Most schools are opening windows and hosting class outdoors rather than investing in costlier, more-effective measures.
2 min read
Students from PS 11 Elementary School participate in art projects and interactive activities, during an after-school outdoor program held in the High Line park in New York, NY, October 21, 2020.
Students from PS 11 Elementary School participate in art projects and interactive activities during an after-school outdoor program in New York City in 2020. Many schools are opting for outdoor classes and other-low cost measures to maintain healthy air quality during the pandemic.
Anthony Behar/Sipa via AP Images
School & District Management Interactive Hour by Busy Hour: What a Principal's Day Actually Looks Like
From the time they wake up until they set the alarm at night, school leaders juggle the routine, the unexpected, and the downright bizarre.
Left, Principal Michael C. Brown talks on a radio at Winters Mill High School in Westminster, Md., on May 17, 2022. Right, Boone Elementary School principal Manuela Haberer directs students and parents in the pick-up line at the conclusion of the school day on May 19, 2022 in San Antonio, Texas.
Left, Principal Michael C. Brown talks on a radio at Winters Mill High School in Westminster, Md., on May 17, 2022. Right, Boone Elementary School principal Manuela Haberer directs students and parents in the pick-up line at the conclusion of the school day on May 19, 2022 in San Antonio, Texas.
From left, Steve Ruark and Lisa Krantz for Education Week
School & District Management Photos What School Leadership Looks Like: A Day in the Life of a Principal
A look at a typical day for one elementary school principal in Texas and a high school principal in Maryland.
1 min read
Principal Michael C. Brown, from left, talks to seniors Brady D’Anthony, 18, and Sydney Dryden, 17, at Winters Mill High School in Westminster, Md., Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
Principal Michael C. Brown, from left, talks to seniors Brady D’Anthony, 18, and Sydney Dryden, 17, at Winters Mill High School in Westminster, Md., Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
Steve Ruark for Education Week