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Elect School Board Members

Electing representative officials leads to a successful and united society. Appointed positions, even with prerequisites, monopolizes power amongst certain established authority.

Elections allow for expansion in political participation through voting and campaigning creating a passion for earning an influential role and improving the community. Regarding education, school boards with elected officials are necessary for encouraging people to become involved and informed in a regulated way. Teachers and administrators are held responsible for upholding community beliefs, expectations, and desires which are crucial for students’ success and well-being at school.

Alan Milchman, a faculty member of Queens College of New York, claimed that their quality of education has deteriorated over time as they advance with an appointed board. Their struggles with diversity and inclusion have driven multiple families out of public schooling. Milchman argues such issues arise when mayors have the power of appointing members to the school board, and therefore, “candidates are culled from a select group of civic organizations and tend to represent limited points of view.”

With this system, there is no growth, no challenge of viewpoints, and no critical analysis of the way things have always been done. The power of appointing members allows an opportunity for bias and self-interest, where the authorities are in favor of their own personal beliefs and agendas. With an elected board there is room for new standpoints as people voluntarily apply for a position, rather than one that is seemingly handed over.

Similarly, people living in Boston are beginning to question whether the mayoral-appointed school committee has truly been successful. The Boston Globe published that “more than 87% of voters want a chance to select at least some of the school committee’s members.” Kristin Johnson, a parent, came before the Boston School Committee to speak out about her concerns regarding the use of their budget.

However, over time, she decided to approach what she considered the “root of the problem,” appointed school boards. She found within school archives that a woman of color named Jean McGuire had prepared to be elected for the school board but never got a chance to because the committee coincidentally converted to an appointed school board just before the elections.

This action raised concerns and conversations about the consideration of equity and equality. Johnson learned that McGuire views the situation as “a power grab that took away that group’s hard-won influence and set up a mayoral monopoly over the district’s large budget.” People want the opportunity to run for an elected school board to share ideas and perspectives. Elected boards allow for equability amongst representatives which is ultimately what creates a well-rounded successful group of leaders.

It is extremely important that people, especially parents, feel they have a voice in their children’s school experience. It is becoming increasingly necessary that a variety of perspectives and opinions are heard by authoritative positions to ensure that education continues to progress.

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