4-26 school boards event

Amy Fagan

In case you missed it, here is the video of our April 26 event, Are Local School Boards Vital in 21st Century America? It was a great discussion; our excellent panel consisted of: Anne L. Bryant, executive director of the National School Boards Association; Gene I. Maeroff, founding director of the Hechinger Institute, Teachers College, Columbia University and author of School Boards in America: A Flawed Exercise in Democracy; Christopher S. Barclay, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education, Maryland; and our own Chester E. Finn, Jr., president of the Fordham Institute. The group was moderated by Fordham Institute Executive Vice President Mike Petrilli.

Obviously you can watch the video in full. But here's?one overview/summary that was written about the event. NSBA has posted a write-up about it, too.?And below we've pulled together a few highlights of our own as well?. thanks to Fordham's Daniela Fairchild, who tweeted the entire event. (paraphrased)

Anne Bryant: School boards are the connection to the community. ? Not all school boards are perfect. Nothing is perfect. Checker Finn isn't perfect. (laughter erupts) ...School boards are transparent and accountable to public and members want reform.

Gene Maeroff: School board members are asked to do too much. Determining curricula, teacher hirings, etc. shouldn't be their jobs. ...I'm making the case for a new model of boards with a narrower purview of responsibilities.

Christopher Barclay: School-board members have one big job -- keep the admin & community focused on goal of education. ? Why did I join a school board? Because someone needs to fight for students without a voice.

Chester Finn, Jr.: Big issues with education-governance -- boards not responsible to mayor/gov/etc., too many levels of decision-making. ? Layer cake of governance gives each level a functional veto over reforms of other levels.

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