Besieged: School Boards and the Future of Education Politics

William G. Howell, editor, Brookings Press
June 2005

This 14-essay, 350-page Brookings volume provides pots of information about local school boards in America and explains that they are a deeply rooted institution that is apt to be around for some time to come, albeit in diminished form. But it does not persuasively argue that this institution is effective, efficient, responsive, or good for children, saying more about the inevitability than the desirability or utility of school boards. Perhaps that's good, realistic political science not to shout against a hurricane. But I have scant patience for education governance mechanisms or institutions that are easily captured by adult interests, that don't boost student learning in our era of standards-based reform, and that, with rare exception, do their utmost to maintain monopoly control and discourage competition. Several authors in this collection seem to share that view; others manifestly do not. See for yourself - and learn a lot about school boards from this covey of astute and knowledgeable analysts, led by Harvard's William Howell. The ISBN is 0815736835 and you can obtain additional information here.

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