God, Mark Twain wrote, made idiots for practice, and only then proceeded to make school boards Reply

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From The Register Citizen March 24

God, Mark Twain wrote, made idiots for practice, and only then proceeded to make school boards. Governor Malloy seems to concur, proposing, among his education reforms, to deprive school boards of the authority to hire and fire teachers and instead vest that authority exclusively with school superintendents.

As a practical matter this probably wouldn’t make much difference, since most Connecticut school board members long have been mere ciphers, taking direction from the superintendent they hire rather than giving him direction. And why not? These days a Connecticut school board can’t do much more than sign off on contract arbitration awards for their unionized employees. Most of a school budget is formally considered off limits to democracy, constituted by the “fixed costs” of employee compensation, transportation, and utilities, and most matters of ordinary school administration are tightly constrained by either state or federal law. So these days Connecticut’s school systems pretty much run themselves — often into the ground.

But there’s a problem with the governor’s proposal in principle, and that principle is quaint old democracy. If a school board’s authority is to be even more limited than it is already and if the public’s ability to influence the direction of its schools is to be reduced to nothing, there’s little reason to have school boards in the first place. In that case the superintendents themselves should be elected, though of course they would never accept the accountability that would come with that.

The governor’s proposal underscores a big problem with public education in Connecticut — that so little of it is public. Removing hiring authority from school boards will only give board members another excuse to shrug helplessly in the face of complaints, and public education already is full enough of excuses.

Looks like most of our Region One Board, eh!?

Read the full story here….scary stuff…..

http://www.registercitizen.com/articles/2012/03/24/opinion/doc4f6e7cdc6b6e7691654001.txt

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