School Board Elections Don't Get Much Attention. They Should
November 20, 2020
Even during a month when elections dominate the news, local school board elections get too little attention. While not all members of the nation’s 14,000 school boards are selected by voters in partisan or nonpartisan elections, most are. And these elections arguably embody democracy at its most grassroots level.
While they may not attract widespread media attention, school boards play a critical role in steering the progress of the nation’s schools. They choose curricula, set school-year calendars, and negotiate employee labor contracts. They hire, fire, and evaluate school superintendents and approve their goals and policies.
The more collaborative and productive a superintendent-school board relationship is, the more efficiently a school system runs. Yet the superintendent-school board relationship is often fraught—marked by conflict, attempts at micromanagement, and single-issue politics.