The Essential School Board Book

Mickey Muldoon

Nancy Walser
Harvard Education Press
October 2009

The final paragraph in Richard Elmore’s foreword to this book sets an appropriate tone. “I am no less skeptical about school boards, having read Walser’s book,” Elmore writes, “but I am a much better informed skeptic, and, perhaps, one who is slightly more willing to be persuaded of the future viability of local school governance.” For the education-policy audience, then, this book will not be a game-changer or convince the doubters. Nonetheless, as the title suggests, the intended audience is not policymakers but actual board members--and they may benefit from this concise collection of case studies combined with a few general lessons on what great school boards do well and how others could learn from them. (It also functions as a sort of history of American school boards.) With approximately 15,000 of them left, we should encourage school boards to “operate effectively in ways that can help raise student achievement in their districts.” Walser believes this is possible and she uses these pages to explain how. You can purchase a copy here.

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