School Boards Get Political

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

photo by the Office of Governor Baker

Despite their apolitical image, school boards, by their own admission, are anything but. “In the education arena, local governance and community ownership won big on the ballots,” Katherine Shek wrote in a recap of last year’s election results in the April 2017 issue American School Board Journal. “Georgia voters said no to the state taking over low-performing public schools.”

“Voters in Massachusetts rejected the expansion of charter schools.” Shek is the manager of the National School Boards Action Center. The American School Board Journal is published by the National School Boards Association.

“In Massachusetts, more than 200 local school boards passed resolutions against expanding charter schools, according to WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station,” Shek wrote. “In Georgia, parents and teachers took to social media to send messages against the proposed state takeover and in support of public schools.”

“Building on this energetic movement, there’s no time like the present for public education advocates to make their voices heard.” In the grand tradition of public school advocacy, Shek indicates it is “for the children” that school boards are lobbying and electioneering: “Misleading rhetoric coupled with budget cuts and proposals to divert public funds to private schools are threatening the continued success of our 50 million children in public schools,” she asserts.

Continued success? Even success might be a bit of a reach.