School board members are the unsung heroes in communities throughout the country. They establish the vision and goals for the public schools in their district, and they set standards for the performance of schools and superintendents.
Most school board members are elected by people in their community to represent their values, views, and desires for the public schools in their district. As selected leaders in their community, they consistently communicate with the public to keep community members abreast of challenges, ideas, and progress.
School board members are tasked with an important responsibility: educating nearly 50 million children – almost nine out of every 10 students – who receive their education in public schools. Board members are more than policy-makers and administrators; they are advocates for students and their parents and entrusted to engineer a better future.
The Importance of Local Governance in Public Schools
There are six key reasons why local governance is the best way to advance public education:
- Education is not a line item in a school board’s budget—it is the only item.
- The school board represents the community’s voice in public education, providing citizen governance and knowledge of the community’s resources and needs, and board members are the policy-makers closest to the student.
- The school board sets the standard for achievement in the school district, incorporating the community’s view of what students should know and be able to accomplish at each grade level.
- The school board is accessible to everyone in the community and is accountable for the performance of the schools in the district.
- It is the community member’s right as a voter to select new board members who will work diligently to provide an opportunity for students to receive a high-quality education, which will enable them to succeed in their career, college, and life.
- The school board is the community’s education watchdog, ensuring that taxpayers get the most for their tax dollars.