Friday, November 6, 2009

SPS has a weak school board as of Nov. 2007

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What follows is a paraphrase of comment I submitted Nov. 6 to the Blog Entry titled "School Board Elections" on the SPS community blog -- URL

Dorothy wrote "I will do my part and let the board know that my decision on the levy vote will be directly related to this issue."

Dorothy's comment has inspired me to suggest the following:

Tell the board that we will organize to raise strong public opposition to the upcoming levy UNLESS the Board agrees to adopt John Carver Policy Governance Model.

The John Carver Policy Governance Model is a brilliant strong-board model. It eliminates micro-manageing by the Board (if it is implemented with high fidelity). and hold the chief executive officer (that would be MGJ in SPS) accountable for upholding Board policy.

I think many of the problems in SPS are related to our having as of Nov 2007 a majority on the Board that favors a weak school board. I include Harium Martin-Morris in the group that favors a weak board. I am happy to explain my reasoning if any one cares to ask. Furthermore, Michael DeBell seems to me to be the strongest advocate for a weak school board.  [But see the original post at for an account of M.DeBell being very conscientious in interrogating the District about Meg Diaz' report.]

A weak school board does not enforce policy, rubberstamps the Superintendent's actions and decisions, and acts as a buffer between the Superintendent and the Public. In the weak board construct, the main purposes of the Board are to promote the Superintendent's policies, act as the community-engagement intermediary, and take the heat for unpopular actions of the Superintendent.

I talked to Sally Soriano today. I understand from her that prior to 2007 policy was quite important to the Board. That certainly isn't the case now.

Did you know that as of a policy revision in Jan 2008, the Board no longer requires the Sup. to uphold Board policy?

Did you know that the Broad Foundation (and Gates,too, no doubt) favors the Superintendent to have more authority than the Board, and to be the chairman of the board? The evidence for this is at Click on the heading "Setting and Implementing Board Policy," read the brief text there, and then look at just the first several clauses of the downloadable pdf of the NY district bylaws.

Did you know that The Broad and Gates Foundations have paid for/are paying for our Directors to attend trainings that are designed to get the Board to put more and more weak policies in place, and to teach the Board how better serve the promotional and buffering purposes of a weak school board?

Did you know that currently there is no limit on the amount that individuals may contribute to school board campaigns, and a few wealthy individuals account for most of the extraordinary funding that Carr, Maier, Martin-Morris, and Sundquist received in 2007?

Did you know that the Broad Foundation (and Gates,too, no doubt) favors mayoral appointment of school district directors?

Did you know that Mayoral Candidate Mick McGann favors mayoral appointment of school district directors?

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