Volume 23, No. 1
Leading and Governing
Is there another domestic policy space more complicated than state education governance? In the face of the 50-plus ways of constructing state systems of public education in this country, the authors in this issue attempt to tease out what constitutes strong leadership and effective governance. It requires that the myriad leaders of the interlocking parts fix on common goals, work collaboratively to achieve them, seek data on outcomes, and commit to bringing more light than heat to conflicts that arise along the way. State boards of education are part of the mix to add stability to goal setting and ward off partisan attempts to whipsaw the system this way then that. Easier said than done, say readers who can recall painful episodes where efforts to do good things on behalf of students fell flat.
No one model is clearly superior, but relationships, talent, and shared loyalty are marks of governance systems that get things done.
Savvy boards can increase the odds their plans will live, breathe, and have measurable impact.
On average, takeover fails to improve achievement measures, but how it is done matters a lot.
State boards should lean into education data and work to overcome challenges to doing so.
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.
While relationships with school leaders were contentious in places, many districts benefited from collaborative ones.