This is the third post in a series by guest bloggers who know first-hand the strengths and flaws of America's dominant form of education governance: the local school board. Each author will draw on their personal experiences to answer the question posed for the Board's Eye View Challenge: Can school boards improve schools?
Melanie Kurdys, who graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in math and worked in Systems Development for IBM, AT&T, and Owens Corning Fiberglas, is a fulltime mom of three children, and has, for the last twenty years, lived and volunteered in schools in Michigan, Louisiana, Georgia, and California. She served on the Portage, Michigan, School Board from 2007-2011 and on the Portage Curriculum Committee from 2004-2006.
I was on my local school board, but lost my last election because I was part of a six to one majority that voted to pay off our superintendent to get her to leave before her contract expired.
A compulsory monopoly cannot be led, directed, bribed, or coerced into better performance.
When I started on the board, in 2007, I was in the minority, five to two. I am a fiscal conservative, strongly believe in using data to make decisions, and was relentless in my effort to show that the student achievement in our district was unacceptable—for hundreds of children every year and getting worse. The community has...