Districts that “beat the odds” academically have school board members who are focused narrowly on improving student learning, according to a new report.
The report, produced by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington-based education research and advocacy group, looked at survey data from 900 school board members in 417 districts to examine how board members’ characteristics and knowledge link up with districts’ success at producing higher-than-expected student achievement.
The study also found that:
• Most board members possess accurate information about their districts;
• Board members’ political beliefs seem to affect their knowledge of their districts. Political moderates, for example, were more likely to be informed about district money matters than liberals and conservatives; and
• Board members with a background in public education were less knowledgeable than other members about district conditions.
A version of this article appeared in the April 02, 2014 edition of Education Week as School Boards