Is any particular type of state board more effective than another? It is hard to define an “effective” board without knowing what it should do, and expectations vary from state to state about their place in American education policy. Should they lead and direct policy, or should they follow the lead of school districts? Should the governor, as a state-level politician, be a key player or not? Should they seek public input? Should they “control the narrative” to advance some desired policy goal with the press?

And who should they be? Are they supposed to be representative assemblies, drawn from a wide range of walks of life and demographics? Are they spokespersons for education generally or public education specifically? Are they to be drawn from the ranks of educators, policy experts, or the general public? None of these questions can be answered definitively for all state boards, in part because state laws and constitutions grant (or withhold) a  variety of their powers and in part because the boards comprise people with their own agendas.

Effective State Education Governance

Also In this Issue

Effective State Education Governance

By Arnold F. Shober

No one model is clearly superior, but relationships, talent, and shared loyalty are marks of governance systems that get things done.

Roadmap to Excellence: Strategic Planning for State Boards

By Abigail Potts and Paolo DeMaria

Savvy boards can increase the odds their plans will live, breathe, and have measurable impact.

State Takeovers: No Silver Bullet for School District Improvement

By Beth Schueler

On average, takeover fails to improve achievement measures, but how it is done matters a lot.

Harnessing the Power of Evidence-Based Policymaking

By Heather Boughton and Sara Kerr

State boards should lean into education data and work to overcome challenges to doing so.

State Boards and the Governance of Early Childhood Education

By Elliot Regenstein

As states seek to bring coherence to the disparate systems that have a hand in early education and care, state boards have key roles to play.

African-American teacher reading to school children. Image credit: iStock

The Role of Teachers Unions in School Governance during COVID-19

By Lesley Lavery and Sara Dahill-Brown

While relationships with school leaders were contentious in places, many districts benefited from collaborative ones.

Featured Items


New State Strategic Plans Zero In on Learning Recovery

This NASBE analysis looks at 49 state strategic plans and finds many target learning recovery and other pandemic-related education issues.
A diverse group of preschoolers in a classroom i

Preschool for All

The state role in early education keeps growing. This Standard details the ways that states have expanded access to quality preschool, the research that supports these efforts, and the growing pains these initiatives are likely to experience.
Photo Credit: iStock i

Six Questions to Advance Media Literacy and Digital Citizenship

Adolescents consume a lot of screen media, which exposes them to potentially harmful media messages that impacts their physical, mental, and social well-being. Read how some states are equipping students with skills to navigate a complex media landscape.

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