I have many issues with the State Board of Education. I thought maybe the answer was to write a bill and have the State Board elected and add appointed members such as legislators, members of various organizations etc. to the board. I am beginning to think we really do not need a State Board of Education. It is just another bureaucratic body that is just not necessary–it is time to remove the middle man.
Research is being done so I can have a better understanding about our state’s history with respects to the State Board of Education and Delaware Department of Education.
I have filed two FOIA complaints against the State Board of Education–one was filed on January 24, 2016 and another on February 25, 2016.
This is certainly intriguing. If the positions are redundant as opposed to check-and-balance, it might be an option worth serious consideration.
The State Board started to become an anachronism in the Carper administration, when the Department of Public Instruction was renamed the Department of Education and the superintendent of public instruction, up to then appointed by the State Board, was retitled as the Secretary of Education and made a member of the governor’s cabinet. Until that time, the state board members (while appointed by the governor, as they are now) had hiring/firing responsibility for the superintendent and his staff. Now the board is out of the hiring/firing loop. In that earlier era, the state board could actually set education policy for the state, and the governor, beyond appointing board members whose beliefs adhered closely to his own, had little involvement in education policymaking. (Yes, Pete du Pont created Jobs for Delaware Graduates and advocated for vouchers, but that’s nothing compared with Jack Markell’s involvement today.)
What’s going on with WEIC is essentially the State Board’s attempt to show that it still has a little muscle left. The reality is that the Governor wanted the commission (because the State Board could never have accomplished what the commission has already achieved) and funding for any school reforms will ultimately be the responsibility of the Governor and the General Assembly, no matter what the individual members of the State Board might want to believe.
Month to month, the State Board is little more than a captive audience for the dog and pony shows created by Department of Education staffers to demonstrate how well they are doing the governor’s bidding. Other than that, they mostly ask obscure questions about whatever regulations the department has drafted — much like advisory boards to other government agencies — but I doubt anyone would notice if the board ceased performing this function.
I miss the old days — when the board had some responsibility and occasionally exerted it, and, more importantly, when the superintendent of public instruction/secretary of education worried less about following the governor’s orders and more about what’s actually going on in the schools.
Bottom line, if you want the governor to be the major driver of education policy in the state, you don’t need the State Board of Education. If you want to take (some of) the politics out of public education, take the Secretary of Education out of the governor’s cabinet and make him/her responsible to the State Board of Education.
What if we controlled who got on… mandating they must be either teachers, parents, or administrators?
Or expressly saying that no one employed by any educational non-profit is allowed to serve?.