I recently went looking for some NSBA history. The late Thomas Shannon’s book, The National School Boards Association: Reflections on the Development of an American Idea, is the best source of information on the birth, growth, and evolution of our association.
I learned that the idea for a national association of school boards came from a resolution in 1896 by William George Bruce, the founder and publisher of American School Board Journal. He saw a need to focus on the problems and issues confronting school boards from a national perspective. School board members needed “their own national association to elevate the standards, to increase their efficiency and dignify their labors.”
Bruce, a publisher, civic leader, and Milwaukee school board member, was not successful with his resolution. It wouldn’t be until 1940 that the National School Boards Association was formed.
ASBJ, established in 1891, helped Bruce fulfill his goals through a national magazine that focused on the problems and issues of school boards and dignified their labors. As the longest-running education magazine in the U.S., it is a chronicler of education history in the U.S. from the viewpoint of school leaders.
We proudly continue in this role today to help school board members do their jobs, with a mix of practical “how-to” information and best practices and high-level examinations of pressing education and societal issues.
The second article in our Dismantling Institutional Racism in Education (DIRE) initiative’s series is our cover story for this issue. “Diverse Teachers Matter” looks at how districts are addressing the urgent need to hire and retain teachers of color.
School boards have an important role in attracting and retaining a diverse workforce, which we know from research boosts achievement and can disrupt institutional racism in schools.
As author Glenn Cook writes, “Developing a racially diverse workforce has long been cited as crucial to improving student performance, especially among Black and Latino youth. Studies show all students benefit when they have access to teachers of color, but this is especially true for minority children.”
We are honored to carry on the legacy of this historic magazine, now and into the future. I hope Bruce would be proud of what his publication has become and continues to be.
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Until next issue. . .
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