School Boards in America: A Flawed Exercise in Democracy

School Boards in America: A Flawed Exercise in Democracy


By (author) Gene I. Maeroff


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Paperback $40.00
  • Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan
  • Format: Hardback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 240mm x 18mm | 440g
  • Publication date: 19 January 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Basingstoke
  • ISBN 10: 0230107583
  • ISBN 13: 9780230107588
  • Illustrations note:

Product description

Local school boards in the United States spend almost $600 billion of the public's money and employ millions of Americans. They have a prime role, along with the home, in shaping the future for the country's young. Yet the more than 14,000 boards of education are obscure and most people have not the vaguest notion of how they operate and what impact they have. School Boards in America aims to provide a wide audience - educators and college students, board members, policymakers, parents and other taxpayers, and just about anyone interested in public affairs - with an inside view that will forever affect the ways in which they look at public schools and how they are governed.

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Author information

GENE I. MAEROFF Senior Fellow at the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at Teachers College, Columbia University, USA, where he was the founding director. He is also a former national education correspondent for the New York Times. He is the author of over a dozen books including The Guide to Suburban Public Schools, Team Building for School Change, School Smart Parent, Altered Destinies, and A Classroom of One.

Review quote

"As the nation engages in the critical struggle to improve its schools, the local school board remains a neglected institution. Board members, however, remain critically important. This immensely readable volume by a school board 'member' sheds much needed light on both the strengths and weaknesses of this uniquely American institution."--Jim Hunt, Governor of North Carolina (1977-1985, 1993-2001)"Maeroff brings light and wisdom to understanding why school boards, a uniquely American institution, are both loved and hated; and what we can do to help them improve the education of our children."--Christopher T. Cross, former Assistant Secretary for Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education and Chairman, Cross & Joftus, LLC"A vitally important, cogently written analysis by an extremely knowledgeable author who is currently living his subject as a school board president (an all too rare reality among contemporary education policy 'experts')."--Michael D. Usdan, Senior Fellow, The Institute for Educational Leadership"Gene Maeroff spins the reader through a whirlwind of education-reform debates, from accountability to teacher quality to funding--all through the eyes of the local school board. He provides case-study examples of successful school boards (like that of Denver Public Schools) and those that have been far less so (like that of Clayton County, GA) as well as scores of interesting data points. . . . In the end, though Maeroff acknowledges inherent and systemic flaws in school boards, he offers up reasonably mundane suggestions for righting them--including having appointed and not elected boards, and increasing professional development--leaving us still searching for the most viable governance arrangement for our schools." -Daniela Fairchild, Associate Editor and Policy Analyst, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, from "The Education Gadfly"

Table of contents

A Cradle of Democracy The School Board's Impact on the Content of Learning Inherent Inequities Jobs, Jobs, Jobs Teachers: The Glory and the Agony The Mirage of Local Control The Special Burden of Special Education The Inner Workings of School Boards Accepting Responsibility Alternatives to School Boards Do School Boards Have a Future?