"But you must remember, my fellow-citizens,
that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty,
and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.
It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government."
—Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4, 1837
At some low point in my tenure on the board of education in my small school district, a friend advised, “Don’t worry. You are like gravity. They always know that you are there.”
Much good can come from keeping institutions honest.
Though I aspired to being more than a reminder of some facts of life as member of a board of education, gravity was at least a starting point. And I appreciated my friend’s larger message: that much good can come from keeping institutions honest. In fact, as I reflect on the last five years of public service, I’m thinking that keeping governments honest may be the single most important duty of every citizen.
And in honor of the holiday, I offer five lessons learned, which to my mind seem close to self-evident truths, about school governance:
1. Don’t underestimate the value of information...