Should State Board of Ed. be abolished?

A new report to be released Friday by Governor Snyder’s 21st Century Education Commission seeks to either appoint members to the State Board of Education or abolish it altogether.

“The State Board of Education should either be abolished or its members appointed by the governor, according to a panel commissioned by Gov. Rick Snyder to overhaul Michigan’s lagging performance.”

Elected boards, accountable to the parents and voters  is frustrating to people who want to push their agenda and make schools accountable to the state/business in a partnership.   Doug Rothwell CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan said it clearly,

“On education, so much needs to be done that we need take good ideas and run with them.”

A good idea by whose definition?   A good idea for business and their bottom line isn’t necessarily a good idea for our children.

Michigan is one of 7 states that still have an elected board.  In order for a centralized education system to operate our state must conform to the dictates of central planners who do NOT want elected boards in any state.  Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, let the cat out of the bag in a speech a few years ago and called for abolishing elected boards in favor of appointed boards which provide “stable governance.”

And so the fundamental problem with school districts is not their fault, the fundamental problem is that they don’t get to control their boards and the importance of the charter school movement is to evolve America from a system where governance is constantly changing and you can’t do long term planning to a system of large non-profits…The most important thing is that they constantly get better every year they’re getting better because they have stable governance — they don’t have an elected school board. And that’s a real tough issue. Now if we go to the general public and we say, “Here’s an argument why you should get rid of school boards” of course no one’s going to go for that. School boards have been an iconic part of America for 200 years. So what we have to do is to work with school districts to grow steadily, and the work ahead is really hard because we’re at 8% of students in California, whereas in New Orleans they’re at 90%, so we have a lot of catchup to do…So what we have to do is continue to grow and grow… It’s going to take 20-30 years to get to 90% of charter kids….And if we succeed over the next 20 or 30 years, that will be one of the fastest rates of change ever seen around the world for a large system, it’s hard.

Just let that sink in….Electing people who will guide our education system is a “fundamental problem.”

It is a fundamental problem only to central planners who seek to control and to limit true choice and educational freedom.   I’ve not been happy with all the decisions of the state board of education but eliminating my choice to elect who will direct our state’s education system is NOT the solution.  Where does it stop?  Should we abolish the State Legislature in favor of an appointed board of 25 elite leaders who have a good idea and can run with it?

Decentralized control can be frustrating and cumbersome to change. That is true. But governance by “we the people” is designed to prevent tyranny and not a fundamental flaw to be abolished.

Please share this post with your elected officials and let them know that power belongs to the people and we will not surrender it without a fight.